After a fairly long flight (4 hours) from Rarotonga to Auckland, immigration and customs, (and crossing the International Dateline again from Thursday into Friday), followed by a connecting flight to Christchurch on the South Island of New Zealand, we arrived at our very nice hotel where we had a night to unwind and become accustomed to a city again. (Stoplights!)
We met our Classic Journeys group at 3:00 on Saturday, and set out on a walk around the city of Christchurch - a city called by some "more English than England". It's a mix of old and new, and has many parks and green space. We went punting on the Avon River right there, poled by a punter in a straw boater's hat. That was fun and very relaxing, with wine provided by our guide, and very comfortable padded seats to recline on. This was followed by dinner together at a great restaurant called the Curator's House - where the Curator of the Botanical Gardens once lived.
There are six in our group, two couples including us, and two women who chose this tour individually on their own - they only met at 3:00 like the rest of us. Our guide, Ian, is a New Zealander ("Kiwi") and is fun and knowledgeable, and drives our comfortable, roomy van.