Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Voyages by Bus: Day 4 (Te Anau to Christchurch)

Ah, today was the day of the bus ride... the eleven-hour long bus ride, to be exact. I left Te Anau Lakefront Backpackers at 7:32am, intent on catching my Intercity bus to Christchurch, which left at 8:00am. Unfortunately, apparently I hadn’t understood the instructions of the Backpacker front desk staff as well as I thought I had, because I nearly didn’t find the bus stop; it was 7:52am and I was still wandering the streets of Te Anau, heavily laden down with all my stuff, and my body protesting with every step I took, as it was (and is) still recovering from the Milford Track.

At last in desperation I ducked into a café that was open to ask for directions, and it turns out I was just around the corner from the bus stop (phew). The bus wasn’t that full; on it were a couple I recognised from the Milford Track, four other passengers, and a handful of schoolchildren being driven to a school out of town.

My day really wasn’t that exciting; it consisted of sitting on a bus. I alternated most of the day between dozing, listening to the tidbits of information about the passing scenery and towns served up by our driver, Kevin, and listening to music on my iPod. I listened to (among other things) an old podcast of Q, where Jian Ghomeshi interviewed The Tragically Hip’s Gord Downie, Joni Mitchell’s album Clouds, and liberal sprinklings of Vienna Teng (live), Lady Gaga, and the Barenaked Ladies. I also listened to Kiwi artist Brooke Fraser’s album Flags all the way through for the first time; the more I hear her sing, the more I love her.

We travelled from Te Anau through to Gore, and on our half hour brunch break and I phoned Akaroa Shuttles to book my bus ride for tomorrow morning out of Christchurch. Then it was off in the rain to Dunedin, where we picked up and dropped off passengers, and then headed up the coast to Oamaru, where we had a lunch break at 2:15pm and I ate the most delicious piece of quiche at the Peter Pan Café (not as good as my mom’s salmon quiche, however). From there we just kept driving, driving, and driving... I felt it was appropriate to listen to Tom Cochrane’s “Life is a Highway”, as that was indeed all I stared at today. We passed through Timaru, Ashburton, and then finally into the suburbs of Christchurch, arriving at 123 Worchester Street at 6:55pm, right on schedule.

About 57km away from Christchurch I texted Kayla, as we were hoping to meet up this evening (she was also staying at the YHA). She texted right back from the Pak ‘N’ Save, where she was buying dinner supplies, and kindly picked me up a salad, saving me making the trip down there myself. We had dinner together in the upstairs dining hall of the YHA, and afterword watched Whose Line is it, Anyway? and Eddie Izzard videos on my laptop in her room, before moving to the downstairs lounge and sharing photos back and forth from our adventures these last few days (mine of Milford Sound, hers of Mt Cook).

Tomorrow I am heading off for another WWOOFing assignment; I’m going out to Little River via the Akaroa Shuttle at 8:30am, and seeing as it is after midnight, I had best get to bed. Here’s hoping for a more exciting blog entry tomorrow... goodnight!


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