Flying from Tahiti to Auckland, you cross the International Date Line, which means if you cross it from west to east you subtract a day, and if you cross it from east to west you add a day. So we lost a day leaving Tahiti for New Zealand but would gain it back on the return trip from Auckland to the US.
In Auckland, we caught a flight to Christchurch to begin our tour of the South Island. We were familiar with Christchurch, having visited in 2014, and again we stayed at the same hotel, the George. And now the hotel’s George the bear had a companion, another George the bear. We had a quiet, late meal at 50 Bistro at the hotel, and made plans for our first full day in town. Read more about George the bear: New Zealand 2014: Christchurch and Aoraki Mount Cook.
The next morning, on our way to the Christchurch Botanical Gardens, we stopped for a nostalgic revisit of Christ’s College, an independent Anglican school for boys. I was struck by the architecture on my first visit and wanted to see it again.
During our trip in 2014, we walked by the botanical gardens but didn’t do them justice time-wise, so we made up for it by spending hours there, wrapping up our two-hour-plus tour with tea and a sweet at the Ilex Café.
The week prior to our arrival, the area had experienced unusually warm weather, but that changed during the week we were on the South Island. Although sunny in Christchurch, there was a distinct nip in the air, and the wind picked up as the day progressed. David does better in cold weather than I, but even he opted to duck into an H&M, and we both bought stocking caps.
On our way back to the George, we stopped at a deli to order sandwiches to go. The cashier smiled and he asked, “Americans?” We said, “Yes.” “From the warm part of the US?” We nodded and answered, “Texas.” He smiled again. “That explains the hats.” It was close to a hundred degrees when we left Texas. He followed up with, “Bit cold for us as well. We didn’t expect this quite so late.” Well, those hats came in handy during the rest of the trip, because it would get much colder than it was in Christchurch.