Sep 24, 2008

Arrival to Christchurch
Two months ago I landed in Christchurch. Snow was thick on the mountains, the coastline was stormy, and the days were short. Despite the weather, I set out to see the land and was amazed by the varied landscape. One moment I was traveling through a mountain pass then suddenly would burst out onto a sandy coastline. Other times I would find myself passing from flat grassland to temperate rainforests in mere minutes. The impressive array of natural places this country houses in such a small space still continues to surprise me. Below is a photo of an estuary near Christchurch, what I eventually learned to be a prime location for viewing the ever-changing sunsets and watching wildlife.

Initially I did some exploring of the greater Christchurch area, one day venturing out into the Craigburn National Forest, very close to famous Arthur's Pass, a location in Lord of the Rings. This brief trip opened my eyes to the unforgiving but beautiful landscape that New Zealand more often than not hides beneath long white clouds. I couldn't help but take this picture of the Craigburn Range while on the way back from a rewarding hike to a nearby peak.

This third picture is very close to where I stayed for the first week in Christchurch. In the background of this picture are the Port Hills, a long row of grass-topped peaks that line the south-western border of the city and command stunning views of Cantebury and the South Pacific. The lights on the hill belong to the suburb of Sumner, reflecting off the saline waters of the Te Huingi Manu Wildlife Refuge and McCormack's Bay.

I hope you enjoyed this initial post. I have tens of photos, videos, and stories still to share but will save them for another day. See you soon!