We finished walking and headed towards Christchurch to dispose of our van and fly home sooner than we expected. We passed by Maruia Falls, created by an earthquake in 1929 that caused a landslide which filled the river channel so the river was forced to find a new way. We briefly stopped at Hanmer Springs and then carried on down to the coast.
We placed our ad on the internet and then diverted to Banks Peninsula to drive out to Akaroa, a small touristy village with a huge cruise ship in the harbour. We mingled with the tourists who were being ferried ashore in the lifeboats to wander the street or join a variety of tours. We sat on a seat by a cricket match to enjoy our lunch where Ray scored a duck in his lap trying to join the feast. He then almost got taken out by a cricket ball but the wicketkeeeper was more worried it was going to hit the ducks.
We stayed in a campsite by the beach and then returned to Christchurch to find we had replies to our ad. We ended up spending a week in Christchurch as the first buyer wanted an AA check and that took time. The deal then fell through as he wasn’t happy with what was found so we moved on to the next interested person and had it finalized after two days. Meanwhile we visited the ghost town that is central Christchurch. We were surprised that after four years not much has happened. There are lots of empty spaces and new buildings are beginning so builders are the main people there. Most of the buildings still standing were fenced off and empty. It was sad to see the cathedral minus its bell tower and front while they debate starting again or restoring. However there’s an interesting temporary (could last 50 years!) cardboard cathedral (only some of the fittings are made out of cardboard, not the structure.) At least the Botanic gardens were still full of people.
It then just remained to fly home leaving drizzly Christchurch where the mountains were the only places escaping the all enveloping cloud and return to sunny Australia.