Day 42: Picton to Christchurch via train

Journal for 2014-12-01 | Published on 2015-04-11 19:19:16

After another failed attempt to sleep in, (just kidding. We actually prefer to get up around the same time every day.) we had a breakfast of oatmeal and chocolate, and then set about figuring out the plan for the day. We figured we would pack up and go check out where exactly the train station was located, since we hadn’t done that yet.

We checked out of the hotel, and wandered down the street, popping into some shops along the way. One jewelry store had gems that are unique to New Zealand, called multigems, and they’re rubies and sapphires that have been heated together to form a new gem. They all come from one rock that was exposed by an earthquake and there are no others like them in the world. Pretty cool stuff!

Looking for the train station, we ran into the aquarium, and they were about an hour from feeding some of the animals, so we decided to have a look around. It’s a small aquarium, but they have a pretty good variety of things to see, and some really cool native animals, like the pot-bellied seahorse, and a few tuataras. Tuataras are reptiles, but not snakes or lizards. They’re much older, from before the dinosaurs went extinct. Their heats beat really slowly, and no one knows how long they live, some think as long as 300 years. We got to pet one, very cool. We also got to pet the snake-necked turtle (not native to NZ, from Australia). And then we got to see their two Little Blue (Fairy) Penguins. The world’s smallest penguin, they were very playful and it was neat to get so close to them.

The manager of the aquarium is a cyclist and a tourist, so we had a nice chat with him about touring and possibly being a Warmshowers host. Then we went to the train station to check in. It was very simple to get our bikes onto the train, we didn’t even have to unload them, just rolled them straight on. We had grabbed a quick lunch from the Picton Bakjeri (a place that we happened to see lots of disappointed people try to visit on Sunday, when they were closed, so we had to try them out), the sandwiches were good, and we got a footlong from Subway for dinner on the train, since we weren’t sure if the prices were going to be reasonable.

We had very comfortable seats for the ride to Christchurch. The car wasn’t nearly full, and it was a beautiful ride. There were some rainclouds, and they blocked some of the views of the mountains, but once we came into view of the Pacific Ocean, we were treated with a very scenic ride. Although cloudy, it was still clear enough to see across Cook Straight to the North Island. Very cool.

We made our way south to Christchurch, listening to the dialogue along the way telling us a little more about what we were seeing. The ride took about five and a half hours. And we ate dinner on the train., We’re trying to return to a more normal amount of food to eat, and today was the big test. I was hungry pretty much all day, but I tried not to give into cravings. I need (we both need) to get more used to eating normal food.  

Arriving in Christchurch, we collected our bikes, and headed toward Biffy’s in Bishopdale. There was a bike path most of the way, which was nice, it even had bike crossing signals at most of the road crossings. As we got closer, I started to recognize street names and stores. We’ve been here before! We stopped in at the grocery for some cereal for tomorrow, and then made our way to Biffy’s. She’s been gracious enough to let us stay for a couple nights, as our flight leaves on Wednesday (today is Monday). Tomorrow is Matt’s birthday (Happy Birthday, Matt!) and we will spend the day getting all our things sorted and packed away for the return trip home.

As we finish our tour, I keep looking back on it: fording rivers, climbing mountains, crossing valleys, seeing ocean, and stream, and waterfall, and ice, and snow, lakes, rivers, fiords. This has been an incredible journey through plains, and forests, bluffs, and cliffs, basins and saddles. I find it hard to believe all the amazing things we seen and experienced. It has been a wild ride, thanks for tagging along with us.

Type Today
Distance (km) 8.52
Time Riding (hrs) 0.5
Average Speed (km/h) 16.07
Maximum Speed (km/h) 24.9
Climbed (m) 13

2 guestbook posts. Click here to post one.

  1. Elizabeth says:

    What an adventure you've had! Thanks for taking us along with you.

  2. tracey says:

    Happy Birthday Matthew, I had lunch with Robin and Mo the other day, and Robin had to take out the calculator to figure out how old you are, we must be the slowest math people on the planet, right? peace and love, mom

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