Saturday, April 29, 2017

Hitchhike Christchurch to Arrowtown

With just one month left on my visa and Milford Track on the horizon, I wanted to work in exchange for accommodation and make my way down south where I will meet RS in a month's time at Te Anau to do the walk together. Meanwhile, he will resume his work at GJ in Christchurch. After four months here, it's time for me to move on. RS dropped by at around 7am to say goodbye. I was about to leave the house slightly after 8am when my flatmate woke up and sent me to Hornby. He took this photo for me and waited till I got a ride before leaving. I had nipped all the cardboards I found while unpacking gloves at Lily's Collection and used them as my hitchhiking signs lol.

I waited quite long for 20-25 mins before Rob, Clare and Simon picked me up slightly before 9am. The pack is going tramping at Lake Ohau and dropped me off at Twizel. They stopped at Ashburton for petrol. I fell asleep for awhile and woke up when they made another stop for coffee. Rob sat at the back, shared his India and Nepal travels with me and showed me some of his gear (boots, tape and emergency beacon). I alighted at Twizel and was lucky to be picked up by Zoe 2-3 mins after I got off.

Zoe is a vet from UK. She applied for residence with 130 points and got approved within 5 days. She has done 8 of the 9 Great Walks and completed many others around NZ. She dropped me off at Cromwell (years later I realised it was just outside Cromwell Top 10 Holiday Park) before the bridge and intersection of SH8B & SH8. It started to drizzle and was a long 30 mins wait before my next ride.

A young couple from Ireland and Britain on working holiday picked me up at 3pm. By this time I was so exhausted to make conversation with them. The only thing I remember from this ride was the Irish girl explained that she told her boyfriend to stop because she had hitchhiked before. They were heading to Queenstown and sent me all the way to my final destination: Arrowtown.

I have been awake since 6.30am, on the road for 7.5 hours and was too tired to cook dinner. Christchurch to Arrowtown is a 5.5 hours drive so I was relieved to have made it here before it got dark. This is where I will spend the next two and a half weeks. 

Sunday, March 19, 2017


I was really tired and checked if the weather can be a good excuse for me not to go out today. After struggling for 15 mins, I dragged myself out of bed and decided to challenge myself again. I know I fully enjoy the sense of freedom and empowerment when I walked out in the morning to take a bus to Kaiapoi. The 952 bus driver dropped me at Waikuku petrol station and in less than three mins I was picked up by David, a 37 year old truck driver originally from Wales. David is a cool and crazy guy who drives this 18m long trailer and gets paid $25/hr. He told me it's a truck thing for trucks passing each other to wave at each other. He bought me a drink, shared hitch hiking tips with me and sent me all the way to Hanmer Springs.

I arrived at Hanmer on a sunny Tuesday morning at 11am. It was pretty busy with many families heading for the natural hot springs. The view at the top of Conical Hill was unimpressive. During the walk down the hill, I met three Singaporeans and Kathy offered to give me a ride back to Christchurch!

Wandered around while waiting for the ladies to finish their thermal experience. Fell asleep on the way back and they stopped at Amberley for a drink. I was invited to Kathy's house at Belfast for dinner. That's Delphina showing me Kathy's gigantic cat Boots so named because it looks like it's wearing boots. Kathy kept me busy with cracking walnuts (I didn't manage to crack a single one though lol) while Delphina and Maisie prepared dinner. I did the dishes and they walked me out and waited 20mins at the bus stop with me.

A simple hello can lead to a million things. Thanks for making my trip back from Hanmer memorable.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

春天的Hagley Park

On my 102nd day in Christchurch, I walked from Hagley Park South via Riccarton Ave and Harper Ave to Hagley Park North. Along the entire stretch of Harper Ave, there were trees upon trees of cherry blossoms. No matter how I tried, my photos could not capture the thick volume of the flowers.

Spring is finally here.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

CIA: Go Home & Be Brave

Michelle and Prof Wong offered to give us a ride to the airport in the morning. This gave me time to wash my laundry so I could have a clean GJ shirt to wear on my first day of work tomorrow. 45 minutes flew by and it was time for him to go home. As I watched his SQ aircraft waiting for boarding, I felt a mixture of immense pride and sadness.

再一次的离别, 再一次坚强地继续一个人的生活...

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Dangerous Cookies


Monday, March 6, 2017

Bottle No Lake Forest

Wandered around in a huge pine forest before my evening shift. I stayed on the main roads as I was worried I might get lost and human traffic in the forest appeared sparse. The paths inside the forest were quite well marked and all I had to do was to find the next marker and I know I should be right. The trees were damn tall and straight.

I could hear the sound of waves crashing and decided to veer off the blue track at the junction of 17th Ave and November Road to take a look at the Southern Pegasus Bay Track. Lo and behold I was facing the South Pacific Ocean! It was too cold to walk along the beach so I went back into the forest again.

After spending 3.5 hours in the forest, I realised there isn't a lake in the forest only a pond... 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Lincoln Farmers Market: Scarecrow Saturday 2013

It's my off day again and I decided to check out the Lincoln Farmers Market, situated in a remnant piece of L-shape land tucked in between a pharmacy and residential dwellings. Excellent use of open space and a great opportunity for the community to get together. It's a small and vibrant market with good country music, local produce and food. There was a scarecrow competition today and everyone was invited to vote for their favourite scarecrow.

Scarecrow festivals are common in other countries to raise money for charity

Lyttelton Ukulele Band

Which one do you like?

Rolleston Florist (second row first from left) was pretty but I voted for Recycle Girl (second row first from right) made by the Carrick siblings age 5 & 7

Results were announced at 12 noon and guess who won? Recycle Girl came in third in the children category, Sally (first row second from left) won the adults category and the black cat with pink coat (first row first from right) won the people's choice category. Prizes were sponsored by local shops. The organising committee donated a gift hamper to the main sponsor who initially wanted to donate it and later agreed to auction it. A man won a lucky draw (the prize was a big cookie) participated in the auction and also won the auction with the last bid of $50. The main sponsor donated his $50 to a local primary school. Love the way this community supports each other.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Scarborough Domain to Taylors Mistake

Sumner was the starting point for today's walk to find out what Taylor's mistake was. The Flowers Track was closed due to the earthquake so we cut through Nicholson Park and then found ourselves walking along the coast to Taylors Mistake. Turns out that it's a beach and a few maritime incidents in the past have led to this interesting place name.

It took 4.5 hours return. This was the furthest we went as I had to go back for the evening shift at TPT.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Halswell to Sign of Kiwi via Kennedy's Bush Track

I left the house at 9am and reached Halswell Quarry Park at around 10am. The quarry was used to build many of the city’s prominent buildings such as the Canterbury Museum. After its use had passed, the Council restored it as a recreational reserve for public enjoyment.

There are many easy short walks through the sister city areas and wetland ponds.

Halswell Quarry

I was blown away more by the Southern Alps stretching across the horizon than the strong winds.

The Southern Alps lie along the boundary between the Australian and Pacific plate. These plates grind past each other, causing earthquakes and pushing up the mountains that form the Alps. It looks like Mother Nature had drawn a faint white line across the sky.

I followed the signs to Kennedy's Bush and on to Summit Road. The track didn't have much signs along the way but it was well marked. At this point I have no idea how I'm gonna go back now lol (I had no maps or smart phone) since I was quite a way from Halswell I decided not to turn back and continued walking.

Tussock swaying gently in the wind felt like a prelude to the Southland tracks

I pressed on and found myself in Hoon Hay Valley. I enjoyed walking alongside the thick bushes of yellow broom with the Southern Alps in the backdrop. I didn't see anyone else on the track for some time and was relieved to see other cyclists and hikers after awhile. I must have walked for two hours to Summit Road.

Hoon Hay Valley

Broom in full bloom

Finally on Summit Road!

I asked for directions back to town and followed a group of Korean ladies at Wolyster Road to Sign of the Kiwi.

The familiar sight of the volcanic landscape meant I should be close to the main road.

A cyclist saw me trying to catch a ride while walking along the main road and advised me it's safer to try at the carpark. I stood at the carpark for about 5 mins and a man with ponytail came out of a silver van and offered to give me a ride down. I hopped in and thanked the family of four who dropped me at the roundabout near a bus stop. I caught the bus back, happy I managed to make it back and covered more than what I initially planned to do today.