Up early to drive to Christchurch and headed for the Travellers Autobahn depo in a final attempt to get our gas hob fixed. Rather than fixing it we were offered a new van as they had loads of spare ones, it was a difficult decision as we had got very fond of Heidi, faults and all but we thought it would be for the best. After checking out the new van, making sure the hob and lights worked, we also realising that the USB charge points worked on the new van and the dining table was able to be fastened securely (unlike in Heidi)... changing van was a great idea. We then went about naming the van, finally deciding the van was definitely a Uta.
We then headed off in Uta and we parked in town and sauntered around the botanical gardens (mainly the nice warm tropical greenhouse full of some very familiar South American Cacti!), then walked around town admired the artwork and pondered why so much construction… before palming our faces and remembering the 2011 earthquake… seems to be a city that is still recovering but really cool things have been done with the spaces. We drove out of town to our campsite which was the only free spot nearby but had some really dramatic posters warning us against camping there due to boy racers who use the area to do donuts in the early hours and have been known to harass campers… but we chatted to the kiwi couple in the camper next to ours and we all decided we could gang up and take them on if needed! It was actually a quiet night anyway, think the rain (yes more rain!) helped keep them away!
We had a nice leisurely morning waiting for the rain to pass, having to make mad dashes to the toilets across the carpark. When it cleared up we went to a local farmers market to admire their meat pies and buy ridiculously expensive vegetables ($4 for a bag of the ‘good’ mushrooms). We headed to a cafe to catch up on blogging with a bowl of lovely chips, some toast and a smoothie. It was still a bit miserable so we thought we’d get out culture on and head to an art gallery!
We only paid for an hours parking so the art museum was time limited, which I really liked, it let me skip over stuff which wasn’t that interesting and take my time in what I preferred, like the old man and chicken sculpture, the interactive leaves and the ‘The Thing’ man in a box… skipping past portrait paintings of unknown old people that I think are way too prevalent in art galleries…. (Disclaimer, Jess wants it known that these views are Chris’ only and not shared by her!)
Then we drove up to a lovely viewpoint and to a pub near our campsite, contemplating ditching the van at the site and ubering so we could drink but no! In the interest of our wallets and livers we just had the one, had an intense game of battleships (Jess won) and went back to cook our ridiculously expensive vegetables. We went to bed feeling more secure than last night even though our friendly neighbours had left, but we were woken up ages later (but probably only about midnight!) by the sounds of unmuffled exhausts and skidding… annoying but not scary!