After Queenstown I took a bus back to Fox, stayed at Sarah P's place again, and then headed out in the morning on another bus, and then the TransAlpine again. I've started to recognize many of the bus drivers, and I will be sad to leave them. My favorite was a Kiwi Wesley Wyndam-Pryce. I swear he looked just like him. (That is for my single Buffy reader.)
Mist and clouds. Can you see the mountains? No.
Beautiful felled tree.
Cat hanging out at a bus stop cafe.
My prediction was true, I was pretty lucky weather wise coming through the mountains on the way over here. Today has been cloudy and rainy. The difference so far on the train has been that we had to stop for about five minutes on the track because a cow was standing on the train tracks. I think a few of the crew got off the train and shooed it off. The conductor sounded pretty amused on the speaker as he reported this incident.
Last views of the beautiful snowy Southern Alps from my train. Leaving the west coast and back to the east.
Bridges are hard to take pictures on.
I stayed at an old converted jail in Christchurch. When I arrived at the train station it was just about sunset, so dark. I had walking directions to the hostel saved on my phone. The website had touted "only (so and so) meters from the station!" Which is why I chose it. But then, while I walked there burdened with all my stuff, I did the calculation in my head. In feet, surprise, is close to a mile. I was very very tired and trudge-y. But I made it to jail alive, yay.
It was actually a pretty great hostel.
Finally, the next early morning I took a shuttle to the airport. My shuttle was a nervous 30 minutes late to pick me up, which would have actually made me miss my bag-checkin at the airport if my flight had been on time. I didn't know it at the time, so I got super stressed, but when I got to the airport I learned my flight had been delayed arriving an hour and a half. Things work out! Plenty of waiting reading time.
So much snow.
You can see both islands!!
I took one short flight from Christchurch to Wellington, and I had about a six hour layover there before my second flight to Gisborne, so I adventured into the city center to pass the time.
Thankfully, once again, I had perfect weather for walking around. Which for Wellington is highly unusual. Welcome to the capital.
I mean welcome to the Middle of Middle Earth.
I took a bus to the city and decided I had enough time to try to figure out how to get to Weta Workshop. If you're not familiar with this place, it is where they designed and made all the props and costumes for the Lord of the Rings movies, and dozens of other popular films over the years. Avatar, Narnia, District 9, Hobbit, Mad Max (!), King Kong, I, Robot; Van Helsing...and dozens more.
And this is where I tell you I wasn't allowed to take any pictures... sorry. Trust me, it was very cool.