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Dave’s Odyssey #5

Posted on the 10 January 2014 by Donnambr @_mrs_b

In May 2008, I went traveling on my own for the first time and was out of England for a month. Along the way I took in Singapore, New Zealand, Australia and Thailand before coming home. I kept a journal of my time on the road, so here’s a day by day account of my trials and tribulations that has the undeserved title of Dave’s Odyssey. 

Day 5 – Singapore – Australia – New Zealand


New Zealand’s sniffer dogs meant business!

Two consecutive flights certainly take its toll. As we approached Sydney we could see the coast lit up all the way to the horizon and this was at 5.00 in the morning! Tackling the security at Sydney proved more straightforward than I could have hoped for. Rather than face a repeat of the drama at Singapore over the contact lens solution, I handed the two bottles over and with a concerned tone asked if they’d allow the stuff through. I got no response from the guy at security. He just casually put the two bottles with my other things and that was that.

Getting from Sydney to Christchurch in New Zealand wasn’t that bad. The only crisis was the immigration forms we all had to fill in to be presented with out passport and ticket. The New Zealanders are obsessed with food and plants that tourists might want to sneak into the country. I didn’t think there was anything incriminating in my backpack so I signed off the form with a clean bill of health.

Dave’s Odyssey #5

Captain Scott, Christchurch, NZ

On reaching New Zealand we had sniffer dogs and x-rays of our luggage, all wanting to find something wrong but, luckily, I got my contact lens solution through without any glitches. We then met our new tour guide/driver – Dave – shortly after. He seemed nice enough.

The first noticeable thing about New Zealand was the change in temperature. The last day in Singapore had been sweltering. The first day in New Zealand was cold and wet. For a second I thought I had taken the wrong plane and ended up back in England. We had a quick tour of Christchurch to pinpoint any restaurants we might wish to try, then it was off to the hotel.

The Cotswold Hotel was more like a series of traditional English cottages. The area was Tudor themed with the cottages divided under the names of Henry VIII’s six wives, still retaining their heads in this instance. An assortment of furniture, shiny tables, two TV’s and a short walk from the bar and restaurant pretty much summed up my room. There was a bit of drama with the door in the respect it had no handle just a knocker in the center reminiscent of the ones held in the jaws of lions. I turned the key and tried to open the door but all to no avail. I found you had to just keep on turning the key until the door opened of its own accord. Bizarre. Call me old fashioned, but I prefer those door handle contraptions. You know where you are with them.

Tired Businessman Having A Sleep

A day spent mostly traveling took its toll!

By the time we were sorted at the hotel it was late afternoon. I went for a quick walk into Christchurch with the aid of a map. A must-see for tomorrow was clearly the River Avon that runs through the city and you can traverse it either by punting or a simple stroll along the riverside. I was impressed to find a statue of polar explorer, Captain Scott, on display. It paid tribute not just to Scott but to the four other men that died with him on the journey back from the South Pole.

The rain become more persistent as the time passed so it was time for a walk back to the hotel. Unfortunately, despite having the map I got a tad confused and it was a good while before I found Victoria Road, which led back to the Cotswold Hotel. On the way back it was amusing to see Christchurch living up to its characteristic as the most English city in New Zealand. The many street names were all reminiscent of home – Oxford, Cambridge, Peterborough and Manchester to name but a few. Clearly originality in street names is not prevalent here.

After being awake for more than 24 hours for the second time this week it was inevitable that I’d be retiring early. I was nodding off by 8.00 so called it a night. At least the rest of the tour, except the flight back to Heathrow from Thailand, won’t see me staying awake more than 24 hours.

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