We had seen the first signs of it while in Dunedin where people evacuating Christchurch were looking for somewhere to go. The place we were staying at had no vacancies that night and the people just kept flooding in. After our intense day of driving – it was the same story in Kiakoura. The small town was buzzing with the amount of people in it. No matter where you went, there was story after story about experiences in Christchurch. I even had someone in my room that was in Christchurch when the earthquake happened and from that moment we met the mother hen in me was alive and kicking once again.
He had nothing but the clothes on his back and the backpack he had taken to the riverside that day. When the earth started moving – he was frozen on the park bench as the river rose and his coffee slide off the bench. Luckily he was wearing a pair of jeans he bought from Hong Kong which had a double pocket and that meant he took both is passport and wallet with him that day. As we ran around the room collecting the necessities so he could take a shower – he shared photos and stories with us. He was calm and easy-going as he recanted the last couple of days to us. And the before we knew it, he was out cold and it was bedtime for us as well as we had promised him a good hearty homemade breakfast in the morning.
Categories: NEW ZEALAND, nz: kiakoura
Tags: Backpack, Canada, canadian, canadians in new zealand, canadians working abroad, canadians working in new zealand, canadians working overseas, change of life, Christchurch, Dunedin, earthquake, live and work in new zealand, new zealand, NewZealand, Oceania, South Island, Stray, SWAP, travel, Travel and Tourism, travel blog, Wanaka, working overseas
Girl Group Bus Photo
We arrived in Mt. Cook and I was greeted by 2 old acquaintances from Auckland (the teasing about how I knew everyone everywhere was getting out of hand at this point) as well as a game plan from Stray. Regardless, I had no time to think about any of this as I needed to drop my bags off in a hurry in order to make the glacier cruise. For the first time since jumping onto the Stray bus since Queenstown – the rains had stopped and there was a slight bit of blue sky visible once again. For the record, I was smart enough to know that I still needed to wear pants and not shorts on the glacier cruise (yes, there was a moment of hesitation but phew, I made the right choice in the end).
So I get onto the tour bus for the glacier tour and once again, my mobile’s going off like crazy. The tour guide gave me the all-knowing teacher stare as I was texting my little heart out instead of listening to whatever he was babbling on about. Since he felt it necessary to give me the teacher stare – I felt it was only fair for me to heckle him for the rest of the day. If I knew it was only his fifth day on the job then maybe I would have restrained (okay, maybe not but I would like to believe that I would have been nice enough to stop).
My favourite iceberg of the day
Regardless, because of the earthquake activity in Christchurch – there was more icebergs in the water where we were doing our glacier cruise. It was amazing – the colours and shapes of the ice. And after about 30 minutes – the most amazing part was how I felt like a human popsicle and yet my fingers didn’t just snap off despite how cold I was. The one activity that I would highly recommend after the glacier cruise is downing a cup of hot chocolate with a stick of Whittaker’s milk chocolate in it. Despite the buzz happening around us – it was as the hot chocolate warmed our frozen bodies after the 1 ½ hour glacier cruise that we truly smiled for the first time in days.
Categories: NEW ZEALAND, nz: mt cook
Tags: Aoraki / Mount Cook, Auckland, Backpack, Canada, canadian, canadians in new zealand, canadians working abroad, canadians working in new zealand, canadians working overseas, change of life, Christchurch, Glacier, Iceberg, Icefall, IEP, live and work in new zealand, new zealand, NewZealand, Oceania, Queenstown, Queenstown New Zealand, South Island, Stray, SWAP, Tasman Glacier, Tasman Lake, travel, Travel and Tourism, travel blog, working overseas
When we reached Dunedin we were still waiting on Stray for a game plan. Those that were originally planning on staying in Christchurch were quickly trying rebooking their trip all the way to Auckland to ensure that they didn’t get stranded on the South Island. I flew into my mother hen mode and decided to do everything in my power so a friend of mine wasn’t going to get stranded. Her original plan was to stay in Christchurch for 1 week after we got there but she managed to get onto my bus all the way to Auckland and would now be crashing with me (strangely works out as I’m currently paying rent in 2 flats).
As the news of Christchurch started spreading – we decided to continue on with our travel itinerary as planned. On this particular day it involved going to Speight’s Brewery for a tour. It’s now been a couple of days and I don’t think I could actually tell you anything about the tour expect for they do a free for all tasting at the end. You have ½ hour to drink as much as you possibly can. In normal circumstances I might have gotten a funny story out but this time – Nothing. The buzz about Christchurch was still travelling around our group and my mobile was ringing off the hook with people wondering if I was safe. This was just the beginning but as we hadn’t seen any footage currently exploding on the airwaves – we had no idea the devastation that had taken place.
After the brewery tour we took off for a group dinner at a local pub. Everyone was out together that night for the first time since I joined this particular bus. We spent 2 hours waiting on bar food as we watched the horror unfold on the news. We still hadn’t received an official game plan on what we’d be doing other than it was business as usual until otherwise notified.
Categories: NEW ZEALAND, nz: dunedin
Tags: Auckland, Backpack, Canada, canadian, canadians in new zealand, canadians working abroad, canadians working in new zealand, canadians working overseas, Canterbury, change of life, Christchurch, Dunedin, IEP, live and work in new zealand, Melvins, new zealand, Oceania, South Island, Stray, SWAP, travel, Travel and Tourism, travel blog, working overseas
We were on our way to Dunedin when we stopped at a cafe to grab a bite to eat. Casually and in the most nonchalant manner, the man who brought over our coffees said, “Did you hear that Christchurch had another earthquake?” As we were making our way to Christchurch – we gave him a look of shock and set out to find as much information as we could (free WiFi plus laptops made this task rather easy).
Turns out the quake was major and had happened just an hour before we heard the news. We did what we needed to do – texted/called our families to let them know we hadn’t yet made it into Christchurch and then broadcasted our whereabouts on Facebook to let everyone else know we were okay. We continued to make our way to Dunedin not know what would happen next or when we’d be presented with some sort of game plan. The only thing of certainty was that we had some strange days ahead of us as we tried to get a hold of all those travelling ahead of us to see where they were and if they were safe (mobile phone reception on the South Island made this a rather difficult task). The mood had changed like the change of seasons where you quickly go from a beautiful summer’s day to the crisp bite of autumn overnight.
Categories: NEW ZEALAND, nz: dunedin
Tags: Backpack, Canada, canadian, canadians in new zealand, canadians working abroad, canadians working in new zealand, canadians working overseas, Canterbury, change of life, Christchurch, Dunedin, Facebook, IEP, live and work in new zealand, new zealand, NewZealand, Oceania, Queenstown New Zealand, South Island, Stray, SWAP, travel, Travel and Tourism, travel blog, working overseas