Journey from Christchurch to Nelson
In the first place I wanted to drive from Christchurch to Kaikoura further to Hammer Springs and then on to Nelson with whale watching, swimming and what else you normally do on this tour. Luckily I met a security the day before who works in Christchurch but has his family in Nelson. He immediately told me that’s crazy to visit both places on the way and I should concentrate on one – apart from all the activities you could do there. So I decided to go over Hammer Springs to Nelson.
On the morning of my leaving another German guy, Daniel, asked me if he can come along with me as friends told him they got a job for 4 persons up there. After we had all our stuff in the car the journey begun around midday – not as early as I planned.
The planned route had around 500km and should be easily be driven in half a day, except it took us 6 hrs for the first 50 km. The very first river out of Christchurch looked so cool, we couldn’t pass it. It looked like out of Lord of the rings, even if it has just a small amount of water in it.
Some kilometers further we found a really cool vinery called “the mud house”. Alone the house was so impressive that it stopped us in the first place. Inside they offered us a vine tasting of 16 vines for just 5$ per person. Who can resist this offer?
In the evening around 7 o’clock we arrived at Hammer Springs. I went straight to the thermal swimming pool whereas Daniel decided to rest in the car. The swimming pools there are nicely arranged and offer different pools like sulfur, salt and normal pools as well as different temperatures. It feels as if they have a lifeguard for every single pool there. The pool where I started was watched by a girl from Germany who was doing work and travel in New Zealand. When I left it was already 9 p.m. and still the longest part of the route in front of us.
We continued our route to the inland right in-between the mountains. At midnight we arrived at Spring Conjunction. The car has just a small tank and I got some new fuel. In Germany we have price difference of maybe 10 cent – there was a difference from nearly 30 cents to the previous gas station in Christchurch. As I was totally done, I decided to just park the car at there and take a little nap. When I woke up at around 3 o’clock, I continued the tour. Daniel slept most of the time and missed the best part, a small pass between the mountains. During the day it would have taken us hours to get through, so great looked this place even in the darkness. Eventually I will have to drive it again. Otherwise the drive was unspectacular – except maybe you see the first time one of the big trucks there coming down the hill. A flood of light swept over us and blinded me. The street seemed far too tight for the truck and my car on it. I reduced the speed and adrenaline flew through my veins, but the truck passed us without damaging the car or the us inside. We would met some more in the night but only the first meeting was this exiting.
Between 6 and 7 we reached Nelson. My first stop was again at a gas station and I experienced something totally new. German Visa Cards are able to kill the whole payment system of a shop! Quite interesting. The guy there had to call the company to get it working again and behind me a long queue formed with not too pleased customers – luckily I made it out alive 😉 From there we went straight to the beach and I took crazy photos while Daniel was still more sleeping than awake 😉