Tuesday, 21 February 2012
The Journey Home
My last day in New Zealand dawned with clear skies and the promise of hot sunshine. Goodbyes are always hard and it felt sad to say farewell to people I’d lived closely with for the last nine days. But time never stands still and a holiday wouldn’t be a holiday if it didn’t end.
My flight wasn’t until 8.30pm that evening so after checking out I left my luggage safely in the hotel and went into the centre of Christchurch. Despite the good weather, the CBD still felt depressing. The only shops were temporary ones housed in containers. The bus driver complained about roads closing, suddenly, without warning, making her job stressful.
I wonder what will happen to this city still in a state of devastation one year on from the earthquake. I didn’t stay for very long but caught another bus to the Westfield Mall where I bought a few bits and pieces and then returned to the hotel to enjoy a last few hours in the warm, sunny gardens before the long flight home – Christchurch to Auckland, Auckland to Hong Kong and Hong Kong to London and home.
Sitting now on the last leg of the journey, brain confused by shifting time and aeroplane sleep or lack of, I’m glad I wrote this travel blog to look back on and remind me of all I saw and did, the different places I visited, the contrasts both vast and subtle between each place I visited, North Island and South Island, Hong Kong and New Zealand, the colour, culture and nature all so different to home.
There were so many highlights it’s not easy to pick favourites but three stand out in my mind – Cape Reinga at the very tip of the North Island, the penguins at Dunedin, Milford Sound, the Fox Glacier and the Kauri and tropical rainforests. London will seem very ordinary in comparison.