Had a very early day today, getting up at 4am and off to the airport by 4.45. You have to be at the airport 3 hours before the flight, though it seems that only a few of the passengers actually did that. The advantage was that there were no queues to speak of at any part of the process.
Our flight got into Christchurch half an hour early, which was nice. The only photos of the day were taken with my phone, out the window while flying across New Zealand to the east coast.
We didn’t realise that we had to ring up to get picked up to get our rental car – we got instructions on what to do if we arrived after their business hours, but not what to do if we arrived as advertised. I thought they were picking us up. It turned out we had to ring them up and the nice lady at the Airport Information stand pointed us to the phone we could make free calls on.
We went outside to wait for our courtesy bus. God it was cold!! I had to get my jacket out. We got picked up and got a different car to the one I signed for. That was OK though – we’ve got a Nissan Tiida, which is pretty nice and roomier than I expected. I was not impressed that they charged my credit card instead of my debit card as I had told them, to save on the various fees. They refunded and gave us a discount, which probably won’t cover the fees, but oh well.
We headed off to the shopping centre to get a SIM organised for my phone, so that we’d have data access while travelling around NZ. The Telecom deal we got includes 1GB at a Telecom free WiFi hotspot. We’ve even spotted a hotspot!
We also got a few groceries and cash out, so that we can have our morning cereal and snacks along the way.
We checked in at the Argyle on the Park hotel. Seems quite nice. It’s right across the road from the Botanical Gardens.
Dinner was on the agenda next. We had seen a place called Budda Stix on the way to the hotel, and the host at the hotel mentioned it as being very nice Thai, so we tried it out. It was a longer walk than we thought, but we finally found it. It was full up inside. We had the option of eating outside in the cold or take-away. We chose to stay and brave the cold. The food was excellent and came very quickly, so that made it all worthwhile.
We walked back to the hotel and even though it was still quite light we couldn’t be bothered doing any sight-seeing, so settled into our room with a nice glass of Pernod and the third Harry Potter movie on TV.