The past week has been crazy – heading for rehearsals, then having three hours of sleep before I wake up for work, squeeze in whatever sleep I can, and rehearsals again. The cycle continues. But I know as tiring as it may seem, this is all part of the process, and just small sacrifices I have to make in order to live my dream. I’m definitely cherishing each moment of Trojan Women, and I know that when it all ends… which is in about 10 hours after the last show tonight, I’ll feel this sense of emptiness. But Trojan Women will be for another post.
Meanwhile, I have some time on my hands before I head off for the day, and thought I’ll continue with my travel posts. Plus with some wholemeal banana cake and a hot cup of milo… perfect to update the blog! So I spent a total of about 2 weeks in Perth and New Zealand. We managed to get really cheap flight deals from Perth to Christchurch via Qantas. The trip to NZ was all quite spontaneous really, but I’m glad we did it. The sights, the sounds… it was all so beautiful.
We caught the late night flight from Perth and made a quick stopover in Sydney before we arrived in Christchurch the next morning. We had intended to stay a night, spend some time exploring the city. I was travelling with Andrew and his brother and friends. It was such a diverse group.
We rented a car which we would use for our entire time in New Zealand. This time round, we stayed on the South Island (New Zealand is made up of two islands, the North and the South, although I read in the news recently that they have now been given proper names). The North Island would be your places like Auckland etc, next time round perhaps!
Driving into town, we were reminded of the earthquake that struck Christchurch a few years ago, and the remnants of it. You hear stories of people leaving, the town being deserted. To be honest, they were right. We stayed at Hotel Ibis, which is the heart of the city, and at night, it was a ghost town. We had to take the car and drive to the nearby suburbs which was a little more bustling with pubs, steakhouses etc. Hotel Ibis is one of the few hotels operating in town, I reckon if you have a car, you’ll be better off staying in a nearby motel (which we did on our last night, just before we headed back to Perth) – it’s cheap, cosy, and really decent.
One of the highlights of the new Christchurch is definitely the containers – it’s not your usual cold-looking, dreary containers. Called Re:START, it’s a wonderful initiative in supporting the local community and helping businesses get back on their feet. There were cafes, clothing shops etc.
A good portion of the area that was struck by the earthquakes was still left in its current state. It’s not easy walking past these areas thinking whether there were casualties, what the people were doing when the earthquake struck.
We made a quick stop at Riccarton Mall to stock up on water and food. It’s about a 10 to 15 minute drive from town. A huge mall, which might be the biggest in the city, it has everything everything you need – sportswear, supermarket, clothing, hairdressers etc. I’m really glad I did some reading before our trip – and saw Beatrice Tan, a local blogger’s post on her trip to New Zealand. That’s how I knew Riccarton Mall existed, hehe.
The next morning, it was an early start for our drive to Queenstown which was an approximate 7 to 8 hour drive including stopovers and lunch. We had to fill our bodies up for the first half of the day, and we went to Strawberry Fare, once again a recommendation by Beatrice.
The food was really tasty and ingredients were fresh. Andrew and I opted for fresh fruit instead of bacon for our Blueberry Pancakes. I’m really not a fan of bacon, and what more, mixing my sweet and savouries. We also had the Big Breakfast, and we were stuffed from those two dishes. Our exchange rate may be almost 1 to 1, but you’re definitely paying much more for food than in Singapore. Our big breakfast was about NZ$20 and our pancakes was NZ$18.
19 Bealey Avenue
There are many scenic routes you can take on your drive south to Queenstown. I didn’t bring my driving license along (I don’t know why, but I tend not to bring my driving license, but just my IC), and thus wasn’t able to contribute and help out with the driving. The boys took turns instead, yay!
On our drive down, we stopped by Lake Tekapo, and which one website calls it “every photographer’s dream”. It truly is! The weather was right, and the river glistened as the rays of the sun bore down. The water was clear, and we stopped to do what almost everyone would do: skip rocks.
A must see when you head to Lake Tekapo is the Church of the Good Shepherd, built in 1935. It’s a small church which probably can’t accommodate more than 30 people. But it’s a quaint little place. You can go in to take pictures, but still bearing in mind, that it is a place of worship.
The church against the backdrop of the snow-capped mountains and the winding roads, was just like a scene out of a Korean drama. I can imagine it already – boy meets girl at the church, boy breaks up with girl for a reason he cannot reveal, and they meet years later at this same place by coincidence. Haha!
Thereafter, we continued our drive along to Queenstown – we tried to reach there as fast as we could (without speeding of course!) because we didn’t want to get stuck driving in the night, or having ice form on the roads which would make it extra difficult for us.
Queenstown up next!