Monday, 10 February 2014

High Country Explorer tour

We were picked up by 2 men and a dog (Maggie) this morning for adventures which involved 4 different vehicles and had a great day out.  And it was our good fortune that there were only the 4 of us on the tour - a group from a cruise ship didn't make it as the ship had been delayed by bad weather so didn't stop in Christchurch.
Vehicle 1
Our adventures started out with a drive across the Canterbury Plains to the Waimakariri River Gorge, where we boarded a jet boat for a 15 km journey into the Gorge.

Vehicle 2

We then boarded a four-wheel drive vehicle to travel through Flock Hill sheep station, in the high country and one of NZ's largest farms.  Just before we arrived at our lunch destination we discovered the 4wd had a flat tyre - so very late lunch after the tyre change.
Vehicle 3

Lastly, we boarded the TranzAlpine train at Arthur's Pass to return to Christchurch - a scenic trip back through the mountains.  It was interesting to look down on where we had jet boated this morning.
Vehicle 4
Some interesting things we heard from Rod and James today.

-  A lot of businesses have, of necessity, now located themselves around the edge of Christchurch city, which has created what they call the donut effect and there's some concern about who will occupy buildings in the city when they are rebuilt, given that the building costs will be high, with corresponding high rents.  There was an article in the paper today citing the cost of demolishing a hotel at $12m.

-  A lot of sheep and crop farms are now being changed to dairy farms with much of the milk produced being turned to powdered milk for export.  The number of sheep in New Zealand had decreased dramatically.

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