Travel Diary: Christchurch & Mackenzie Country

Last week the boyfriend and I headed away for a bit of a long weekend (that was well overdue!) We planned the trip to Christchurch to go and see a band that is on the boyfriends bucket list – the Pixies, but the trip also turned into a bit of a celebration for us. We left the day after I had my last day at my old job (more on that in another post), and the timing really couldn’t have been better. Getting out of town for a few days was exactly what I needed!

We headed up to Christchurch on the Thursday morning to see the Pixies play that night at Horncastle Arena. I hadn’t been to a concert at that arena before, but I was really impressed. We were GA, but they didn’t have us all crammed in like sardines so there was plenty of space to move (and dance). The Pixies were seriously amazing, and I totally recommend you go and see them if you enjoy rock music. There was no frills and no props, just a classic band up on stage singing some of their newer music, plus a whole heap of hits. Debasser was absolutely incredible and so was the encore, Into the White.

We had booked in accommodation the day the tickets went on sale, and were lucky enough to get a room at the Addington Stadium Motels which were literally a five minute walk from the arena! While totally affordable at only $150 for the night, this motel was really nice, and while it was fairly basic, it was clean and the staff were lovely. We even got upgraded from a studio room to a 2 bedroom apartment with a nice deck – score!

The next day we headed into Christchurch city centre as I wanted to head to the Mecca Maxima store. It was actually a total disappointment, as it turns out the only two natural brands that Mecca sell (RMS and Ilia), were actually located in the Mecca counter at Ballantynes. So we headed over there and I bought a darker shade of my beloved RMS Un-Cover Up for when I’m a little more tanned. A year ago I would have died being in Mecca Maxima with all the brands like Too Faced and Urban Decay, but I can honestly say I spent all of two minutes in there. Mainstream brands use do not interest me in the slightest anymore!

We also ended up having a wander around the city centre, and were amazed to see how many buildings are still ruined from the earthquake. There’s still a lot of demolition and rebuilding going on, even after six years. It was sad seeing the cathedral, which was once a stunning piece of architecture, with the walls caved in and pigeons roosting in it. I hope they manage to rebuild it one day.

Instead of coming back through the coast to Dunedin, we decided to head back through the Mackenzie Country which is a truely stunning part of New Zealand. We stopped in Geraldine, which is such a cute little town (even though it’s sadly becoming overrun with tourists), and enjoyed a cup of coffee under a tree in the sun. Afterwards we headed on through to Fairlie where we had a room booked for the night. The boyfriend coined Fairlie as “Fairlie Boring” as there is really nothing to do there. We took full advantage of the Sky TV (as we don’t have this at home) and just mucked around our motel for most of the afternoon. We stayed at the Aorangi Motel, and I’ve got to say, I wouldn’t stay there again. It was pretty dated, and there were tiny feathers everywhere that had obviously fallen out of the duvet. The dishes and cutlery also hadn’t been cleaned very well so we had to wash everything before we used it. Pretty gross.

The next day, it poured down in typical NZ fashion. We drove through to Tekapo and took the obligatory touristy photos in front of the Church of the Good Shepherd. Since the weather was miserable, we didn’t want to be out of the car for long, so we only stayed in Tekapo for a short amount of time before heading through to Twizel and then on to Otematata. We headed up to the Benmore Dam and I took some rather moody looking shots of the dam, before heading through to Sailors Cutting, on to Omarama and then on to the coast. We stopped for fish and chips in Waikouiti before making our way back to Dunedin.

The Mackenzie Country is seriously beautiful and we are already planning another trip up there. I’m keen to stay a night in Omarama (and enjoy the hot tubs!) before heading on to Mt Cook. There’s a glacier walk there which I’m really keen to do, now that I’m fit and all…… 😂



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