After a great night’s sleep we awoke truly in this time zone and excited about hitting the road in our rental campers. It took about an hour for the agent to explain all the intricacies even though we all are experienced RV’ers. We were pleased by the condition that our vehicles is in and the fact that they are less than two years old. They are a bit bigger than the one we rented in South Africa, but small enough to maneuver on the narrow winding roads here. With a cheerful goodbye the agent left us alone to head down the highway on the left, gear shift lever in the wrong hand.
The first stop was to stock up on provisions. The grocery store was definitely up to our standards and we found much that was familiar and some that was not. The fridge is big enough that we will be able to go 3 - 4 days without stopping again if we remembered to buy everything we needed.
Once again we are so thankful that we have our GPS. Roads are well marked, but getting out of a large town like Christchurch would have been a much greater challenge without it. We drove southeast to an area that looks like it was made by a mega volcano. The hills are eroded and not all that high, but the lava formed fjords as it flowed down and the countryside is rugged. I expected a much greener land, but the yellow hillsides reminded us of Marin County in California. We saw many more cows than sheep; also a surprise. There are lots of folks like us tooling around in rental vans and it was easy to find a place to stop for lunch, because a few other campers were already there. It was such a lovely spot we spent more time taking photographs than eating.
Our campground was in the tiny tourist town of Akaroa, a tranquil beach community. The campsite is just large enough for us and we have electricity and water hook ups. It’s quite full, but not crowded. We hear many German voices around us. Those Germans are great world travelers. We’re halfway up a steep hill and took a walking path into town. It had quaint little buildings, ice cream shops and restaurants. It would have been nice to take a boat tour from here. Dolphin and penguin viewing is advertised, but we got here just a bit too late. I have a feeling that even with a month here, there will be so much to see and do, compromises will have to be made.