I have left my parents to fend for themselves and have flown from Rotorua to Christchurch, the largest city on the south island.
Christchurch was hit quite badly by a series of earthquakes in 2010 and 2011. As a result, large parts of the city seem like one big construction site.
I had a look at the cathedral, which was badly damaged in the earthquakes, and also had a look at the temporary cardboard cathedral. Though not entirely cardboard, it is partially constructed of cardboard tubes.
Despite all the construction, many parts of the city are quite nice, including the river Avon, and the Botanic Gardens.
The next day, I left Christchurch bound for Queenstown, but decided to check out Banks Peninsula on the way. The peninsula consists of the eroded remnants of two volcanoes. Natural harbours were then formed when the calderas of the volcanoes were breached by the sea.
On the peninsula I went to Akaroa, a town that was originally a French colony. The colonists had intended to claim the south island for France, but the British raised their flag first.
I went on a harbour cruise out of Akaroa. We found some dolphins fairly early on whilst the ship was still in calm water, though we did venture to the harbour mouth to see the fur seals that make the base of the cliffs their home. We also saw lots of baby seals playing in a tidal pool.
From Akaroa I drove towards Queenstown, staying a night in the village of Fairlie.
From Fairlie, the road to Queenstown took me past two lakes, Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki.
On the shores of Lake Tekapo stands a small church, called the Church of the Good Shepherd. There was a large window behind the altar looking out over the lake, but it was guarded by an angry lady so I could not take a picture of it. I did, however, manage to take a picture of the exterior after I miraculously parted the sea of tourists.
Lake Pukaki was bigger, but lacked a shoreside church. It did afford good views of Mount Cook, New Zealand's largest mountain, though.
I then continued my journey to Queenstown, but at that point I had left Canterbury; so that story is for another time.