Day Fourteen: Back across the ditch

Last day in New Zealand. We showered and went to breakfast. I ate a lot of smoked salmon and eggs in anticipation for a long day ahead. After breakfast, we went back to the room and packed our bags nicely before heading out to explore. We firstly walked down the street to get our Lime Scooters so we can efficiently see the city.

Jip and I rode along the river, passing the Bridge of Remembrance before arriving at the Botanical Gardens. From here, we had to walk as bicycles and scooters are banned within the gardens. We enjoyed our walk and I was so surprised that the creeks and ponds in the gardens were crystal clear and you could see the bottom. We went through the green houses and had a look at the orchids, succulents and tropical plants on display. I reckon it was the best botanical gardens I've ever been to. On the other side of the botanical gardens we walked through a regular park before coming to the Masjid Al Noor; the mosque where the recent shooting occurred. We didn't enter but just walked passed.

We got back on scooters and zipped around the city centre until we came to the 185 White Chairs. It symbolises the 185 lives that were lost during the 2011 earthquakes. I found it underwhelming but I am glad that these people have been recognised. We then went next door to the Cardboard Cathedral. It is a temporary cathedral made mostly of cardboard but has plastic outsides and a concrete floor. The original cathedral in the centre of town was partial destroyed from the earthquakes and it is yet to be rebuilt. The area is still being surveyed to see if it is safe to reconstruct. Once building commences, it will take up to 10 years for completion.

At the hotel Jip and I drank or last beer that we had bought before leaving at 3pm for the airport. I ended up having 17.9kg despite being allowed 40kg. We went to the business lounge for a drink and nibbles. I stuck with water and some sausage rolls as I was feeling rather unwell. We board our plane from a separate gate to the people in economy and we made our way to our large seats. We were greeted with champagne (which I didn't drink) and we settled in. For dinner, I asked for the braised beef but apparently it was sold out (even though there was less than 30 people in business class) so I went for chicken and didn't eat it. I just ate the smoked salmon side dish. We went to the bar on the plane and I still wasn't feeling great so I returned to my seat and reclined until I was laying flat and I slept for an hour. I felt better afterwards. I went to the bathroom and asked if I could see first class. I was allowed to. I went and sat in one of the suites and pressed all the buttons. The bar within the side board electrically rises and in the floor, it is embedded with dull LED lights to mimic a starry night. It was super lush but I had to return to my regular seat. Our landing into Sydney was quite rough. Firstly we were descending but had to accelerate upwards again as another plane was still in the tarmac and secondly, it was very bumpy. We got our bags and made our way for the train. It is so easy having a train under the airport. We arrived at the intercontinental and made our way to our rooms. I must say, they are very basic compared to what we have stayed in but it is a bed, and we are tired!

Things I have learnt in New Zealand:

Every road is one lane, even the main highway unless there is an overtaking Lane.

Kumara potatoes are their ‘thing’. It's on pizzas, with steak, in soup and even stuffed.

Hardly any road kill.

Not a lot of sheep on the north island - seems to be more cow farms

The people are either overly friendly or arrogant.

No plastic bags even in hotel rooms