Saturday, 5 March 2016

New Zealand - Christchurch & Ashburton

Water fountain in Christchurch Botanical Gardens
New Zealand was never one of the places I envisioned that I would visit.  Although I had heard a lot about the country’s beautiful scenery, I would have never planned to go there.  As they say, never say never.  I found myself in New Zealand for a family trip last December.  When I looked at the tour itinerary, I almost fainted at the amount of time we were to spend traveling by road.  What do they say about facing your fears head on?  I guess I didn’t have a choice but to confront my motion sickness demons in the face, packed all sorts of medication and boarded the plane.  First stop, Christchurch.
Purple foxgloves and a huge tree in Christchurch Botanical Gardens
Bumblebees aplenty!

Upon arrival in Christchurch, we were greeted by sunny weather.  We spent some time walking around the botanical gardens.  Summer had just begun and the flowers had started blooming.  The grounds were well-maintained and beautifully landscaped. 

I was thrilled to see French Connection toiletries at Chateau On the Park
Since we were part of a tour group, we didn’t’ have much time to explore Christchurch at our leisure and set off for Ashburton, where we would spend the night.  We only spent a night in Christchurch on the way back from our South Island tour before flying out to Auckland.  I felt terribly carsick due to a lack of rest, the stuffy bus and also the awful smell of Avene sunscreen and promptly threw up when we were reaching Ashburton.  Thank God for air sickness bags. 

Alpacas grazing at Farmers Corner, Ashburton
We stopped at a place called Farmers Corner in Ashburton where there were some alpacas, a Chinese restaurant and a gift shop selling souvenirs.  The restaurant wasn’t very good but the gift shop had some cute and reasonably-priced stuffed toys and there was free wifi on the premises. 
Red bottlebrush, pansies and flowers in the grounds of Hotel Ashburton
After more than 24 hours since we departed Kuala Lumpur, we finally arrived at Hotel Ashburton where we spent the night.  The hotel was not very big but had lovely gardens full of beautiful roses, pansies, poppies, irises and other flowers.  The only problem was that we arrived at dusk and were due to depart early in the morning.
Roses, poppies, pansies!  Feels like something right out of an Enid Blyton book.
White poppies and foxgloves
The garden had a gorgeous rose arch and the gardener was working late to prepare for a wedding the next day.  Breakfast at the hotel was rather delicious and I’d have loved to eat it at a more leisurely pace. 
The lovely arch of roses.  

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