In the BBH hostel guide which shows the hostels that are members of BBH and gives them a rating, this hostel is rated at 83%. The ratings really do not make any sense, as Chester St Backpackers was not very clean, the bed sheets had strange stains and the showers looked like they had not been cleaned in a long time, the manager is not very friendly…we had vacated our room by 10am and she asked is to leave the hostel as it was 11am, there was a couple there from Singapore, she never said anything to them….O well……suppose she has some issues!
We left the hostel around 11:30 and walked to a restaurant called:
The Lotus Heart
Vegetarian Restaurant and Tea House
363 St Asaph Street
T: +64 3 377 2727
Shop within the restaurant
Sangeet had the bun-less burger which came with salad and fries, I had the sunflower burger with salad. Both dishes looked and tasted nice. By the way this restaurant also serves egg. I have found that if you say you are allergic to egg, the staff make sure the ingredients do not contain egg and are kept away from egg.
Afterwards, we had a wander around the city centre. We first came here 7 years ago, it was a very vibrant city with lots to do. Since the earthquake the city centre is very quiet, perhaps quiet is an understatement I should say dead. The only people around were tourists, the workmen and a few workers in the shops just a few hundred yards away from the ‘red zone’. The city looks like it has been hit by a bomb. It is very sad to see it this way, especially when we remember its vibrant past.
After walking around the city centre we came across a small section of the city that was trading out of containers, it is quite amazing to see this, at last a bit of life in the city. We popped into a nice book store….it is amazing to see the shop owners taking charge, continuing with their business after a devasting earthquake.
We later walked through Hagley Park, a huge park, pretty amazing to see God’s creation that was able to withstand the earthquake, whilst man’s creation was destroyed. The park is amazing with a beautiful canal flowing through it. There is also a fantastic rosé garden,which we walked through. It was the perfect setting for a Bollywood film. So we decided to take the part!
On walking back to the hostel we passed the cathedral, it was very sad to see part of it crumbled.
We passed a cafe where Sangeet had a hot chocolate and I had a vegan chocolate cake.
324 Barbadoes St
T: +64 3 666 324
Kundalini yoga advert
The restaurant does meat and vegetarian dishes.
On returning to the car we drove to the hotel near the airport:
Car Memorial Ave & Orchard Rd
T: + 64 3 358 3139
This hotel is owned by Indians and there was a feint curry smell in the room. I could not bring myself to call reception and say there is a curry smell in our room. Especially when it was occupied by two Indians!!
Today is our last day in Lake Tekapo, we have grown fond of this small town and will miss the peace and quiet. After seeing the partial solar eclipse (detailed in another post,) we relaxed around the hostel common room. Sangeet challenged me to another game of Jenga. I won, but I am not showing off! Later we had a wander around the hostel gardens which are nicely kept. They have a little herb garden too, guests are free to pick fresh herbs from there.
Afterwards, we had one last walk to the town centre. We also revisited The Church of the Good Shepherd so we could go inside. Situated on the shores of Lake Tekapo is the Church of the Good Shepherd, which, in 1935, was the first church built in the Mackenzie Basin. The church at Burkes Pass, St Patrick’s built in 1872 was the first church built by pioneers as a joint community effort, by Anglicans Presbyterian and Catholic settlers. Also a joint venture between Presbyterians and Anglicans, St Columba in Fairlie was built in 1879. The church at Lake Tekapo was designed by Christchurch architect R.S.D. Harman, based on sketches by a local artist, Esther Hope. The church is arguably one of the most photographed in New Zealand, and features an altar window that frames stunning views of the lake and mountains.
As we are flying from Christchurch, early Friday morning, we decided to drive across today and spend a full day visiting the town. The drive takes around 3 hours and is across magnificent rolling hills.
We arrived in Christchurch and headed over to the airport so that we can book tomorrow’s accommodation. Then we headed to New World so we could buy some ingredients for tonight’s dinner. Afterwards we headed to the hostel, easier said then done, as a lot of the roads were closed due to restoration following the earthquake two years ago (can you believe they have had 10,000 tremors since?!!?). The hostel is
Chester St Backpackers
148 Chester St East
T: +64 3 377 1897
Sangeet made spicy potato which we had with tortilla, it was very nice. Later I popped out to grab some milk. At the supermarket called Countdown, I met a couple of Sikhs who said the gurdwara was badly damaged during the earthquake. One of the local sangat members has Guru Granth Sahib Ji at home, unfortunately they only perform a Sunday programme….suppose being his personal home he would not want visitors during the week.
Back at the common room we relaxed with the other backpackers….there is a television here so nobody talked, they just watched television! You usually find that when visiting family or friends…..usually they just switch on the television…..suppose their world revolves around television!!<
This morning we had a wonder around Kaikoura, it was very quiet, last night we noticed 95% of the motels had vacancies (we tried to bargain with them, even though the rooms were empty they would not move from their prices!). We walked on the pebble beach, there is something very calming about sitting on the beach and listening to the waves.
We later walked into town, where Sangeet bought some postcards. We all sat at a coffee shop, Sangeet and Nolan had hot chocolate, I had a gluten free chocolate caramel bar. Whilst Sangeet wrote the postcards, Nolan and I decided to get the car parked about a km away. On the way we passed iSite (travel information for New Zealand) and decided to book some accommodation. We are heading to Clinton to start some WWOOFing work which is about 10 hours away, we decided to drive to Dunedin which is about 7 hours away so tomorrow we would not have to drive so much.
The drive south on route 1 is fabulous, we noticed a train line running parallel to the road, it too was hugging the coastline. I think next time we visit New Zealand we will try the train.
Christchurch is on the way south, where we decided to take a break (after 2 hours of driving along very winding roads), the maximum speed is 100 kilometres per hour. By the way I got caught speeding two days ago, we were driving from Rotorua to Wellington, it was pitch black and I was doing 122kph the fine was NZ$170!!!! – if anyone feels like donating please do let me know!
Christchurch was struck by a major earthquake two years ago, the city is doing a fantastic job of rebuilding itself. After shopping at New World (cheese, biscuits, nuts) in the car in the car park Sangeet made sandwiches, cheese, humus and our favourite peanut butter and jelly! We drove through the city centre. It is a very vibrant and beautiful town, so much better then Auckland. It is less populated and the people seem more friendly. It was around 4:30 pm and we hit rush hour traffic, the drive to Dunedin took 6 hours. We were all shattered when we arrived at out hostel called Hogwartz! NZ$31 per person a night. It is nice accommodation with clean shared toilet and shower.
277 Rattray Street
T: + 64 (0) 3 474 1487
Hi, thanks for visiting my blog, feel free and have a look around.Here is a bit about me, as you may or may not have guessed my name is Mandeep,I work to travel as opposed to work to pay bills and die!Every trip for me is an adventure, I have been very fortunate to stumble across amazing places and meet awesome people along the way.
Why gaygoat? When I first started this blog I was a vegetarian, so gaygoat – happy goat! Also you have to admit it is catchy and a URL you will not forget!