Friday, 18 June 2010

NZ Holiday - Day 12-13 - Beery Tram Rides and Surviving the Howling Gondola Gale

We left Lake Tekapo way too soon. Another night would have allowed us to explore Mt Cook and the surrounding area, but it wasn’t to be.

On our way back to Christchurch we knew we HAD to stop in Geraldine. One of the finest collections of Vintage and Veteran Cars, Tractors and Machinery in the Southern Hemisphere is here; and you know what, they weren’t lying.

It really pissed me off having to rush through the exhibits, but once again time was getting the better of us. There was so much interesting shit to look at in the dozen inter-connected sheds. Eric’s explanations of the equipment he’d seen and worked with over the years brought the more obscure gear to life.

We reluctantly left the museum and continued on to Christchurch.

Our schedule here came to a full stop allowing us several days to wind down and check out the city properly. We started at Cathedral Square and bought hop-on hop-off tickets to ride an ancient set of 4 trams which circulated continually around the heart of the city. One was a well preserved 100 years old rattler. Another was an original Sydney Tram. The Tram drivers commentary varied with each different one, I think we tried them all. One stand-out guy gave us a few laughs along the way.

We ducked into a modern art gallery for some reason and left in disgust at the waste of space. Wanky, self-important charlatans according to Eric, (interpreted by Coops).

A hippie market caught my particular attention. Organic beer! (Green Man). Some of which was brewed in old whiskey barrels. The couple selling this stuff were very friendly indeed, and insisted on sharing a bottle with us before we were allowed to purchase any. I love them for the next hour of flooding warmth that sample brought on, and for a nights very deep sleep (after drinking the rest of the 500ml bottles).

The Gondola at Christchurch is a ripper. Doesn’t look as good as Queenstown’s, but the buffeting winds rocking us around on that spindly cable was, in itself, an interesting experience. The operator had thrown 3 x 60 litre containers of water on board to stabilise the capsule a bit. We congratulated ourselves that our current state of fatness did not warrant having water containers removed from the gondola car.

Magnificent views from the top brought a tear to the eye; or that may have been the freezing wind. We had a beer to celebrate surviving the trip up then went back down again.

Go to Day 14.

Go back to Day 1- The Airport/Customs/Flight/Airport/Customs Horror.

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