Saturday: Franz Josef--Dolomite Point--Greymouth
Today it rained. One of the more surprising things about this trip is how little it rained. The West Coast of New Zealand should get rain about very often. It just didn't happen during the week.
We stopped briefly at Hokitika where Anna and Erica shopped for pounamu artefacts, amongst other things. One of the more amusing moments occurred when, having inspected one particular piece of jewellery in a store, they went away to another shop, only to find the original store closed for the day when they returned. Someone (I won't name who) promptly came up with the lesson of the day: Don't think; just buy.
We proceeded to Greymouth, where we found accommodation at a relatively nice backpackers' hostel. After lunch at a quaint Chinese restaurant, we headed up to Pancake Rocks. Time constraints meant that we head to see them during this time, even though it was low tide and the rain was falling horizontally. My backpack, though mostly waterproof, did let a little water in (probably through the zipper openings). Oh well.
Cheap BBQ dinner at a pub.
The rain died down to a drizzle by this morning. We got up early (see the recurring theme?) and drove to Christchurch via Arthur's Pass, which is the shorter of the two mountain crossings available to us.
We arrived at Christchurch earlier than planned, and so we managed to spend a couple of hours shopping (see the recurring theme?) in the CBD.
We arrived at the airport and did the usual paperwork. While we were in the gate lounge waiting to board, it turned out that our Air New Zealand flight was cancelled due to "engineering issues". There were no explanation as to what the engineering issue was, but I imagine that it would be better for us not to be on the plane than on it.
The airline booked us into an Emirates flight which departed two hours later. It was crowded, as the plane was effectively carrying two planefuls of people (plus two more under codeshare). But it meant that it was a fully international service, rather than a semi-domestic service that we would have received. And at least we still arrived on the same day.
So there you have it. Writing about it makes me feel like going on another holiday.