Christchurch - the largest city in South Island was my final destination. An earthquake of magnitude 6.3 struck Christchurch in 2011, causing severe damage to the entire city. Thus, most parts of this city are now under restoration and there is not much to explore here as of now. I spent the evening with my Stray friends, discussing the highlights of the trip and bidding final adieus over dinner and drinks.In a nutshell...With 150kms of walking and hiking over 2 weeks, temperatures ranging from -2 to +21 degrees Celsius, mesmerising landscapes draped in autumn colours, bungy jumping, sky-diving and hitchhiking for the very first time and loads of strangers who turned friends - solo backpacking in the land of fern-trees, mountains, kiwis and sheep was one hell of an adventure. I must admit that I am totally in love with this country and is truly the best country, of the 18 countries I have visited so far.
The lovely coastal city of Kaikoura, famous for whale watching, is a 2-hour Intercity bus ride away. The bus station is in central Christchurch - easily walkable if you're located centrally. The bus drops you about a kilometer away from WhaleWay Station in Kaikoura where you need to report for the activity (our tour was cancelled since the whales played spoilsport and went off deep into the ocean). You could also take a scenic Kiwirail from Christchurch to Kaikoura. 6. Rotorua
We took an Intercity Bus to Greymouth to catch one of the best train rides in the world. The bus will pick you up from your accomodation and takes a little over 3 hours to get to Greymouth, well in time for the train. You get a short break in the gorgeous seaside village of Hokitika for breakfast. Make the most of it, because you'll spend most your 4 hour train ride with your jaw dropping to the floor. The TranzAlpine to Christchurch is an absolutely stunning train ride that's worth every penny. You'll cross rivers, mountains, fields and more. There's even a 'viewing carriage' purely for photography. I spent 80% of my time there, coming in only for some hot chocolate and wine. 5. Christchurch