I was mulling over what to call this blog given that our travels over next 3 weeks are not set up like the usual BBA(Benvie Budget Adventure) and nor are we overseas somewhere exotic to New Zealand, where the earlier BBA blogs have all been set.

So as we have just celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary and we are going to be taking in the sights of the top of the South Island, New Zealand, ‘The 50th Anniversary Top of the South Tour ‘was so named.

We were very well organised this morning for our departure to Tauranga Airport and our 11am flight to Christchurch. Not at all like 11 months ago when we also travelled to the South Island for a 3 week tour around the south of the South Island. What with having to go back home after being half way to the airport for a camera Gretchen needed and then just making the check in time just before cut off ,which had we missed it would have cost an extra $150,we weren’t going to make the same mistake again.

And so we arrived in plenty of time for check in and a coffee before boarding 

I had read and heard lately that many Kiwis who were booked to travel within New Zealand were cancelling their trip as the Omicron strain of COVID19 spread throughout the New Zealand cities and towns and travellers didn’t want to risk catching it away from their own home.

Well, if the total number of 68 seats that were taken on the Air NZ ATR72 aircraft this morning was anything to go by perhaps what we had been hearing was ‘false news’.

With a large high/anticyclone over the country the flight of just short of 2 hours down to Christchurch was smooth and for the first time that we have flown south either to Wellington or Christchurch over recent years we had seats on the right hand side of the aeroplane giving us views of the snow capped mountains in the middle of the North Island.

Flying into Christchurch is always interesting as the aeroplane comes lower and gets onto its approach to the runway.

With the city of Christchurch and surrounding countryside being located on a flat plain stretching many kilometres from the ocean to the Southern Alps the view from above is a maze of neatly planted and ploughed fields with all types of crops and orchards as well as some very large and expensive looking homes with their deep blue swimming pools adjacent to the house. And every so often an oval training track for trotting horses.

Sticking our noses outside the fuselage of the ATR72 French/Italian built and developed aircraft we note that the temperature in Christchurch felt a few degrees cooler than Tauranga, even though the sun was shining brightly. We had to remind ourselves that the nor east wind that blows in Christchurch comes off the sea while the same direction of wind in Tauranga some 700km north has a more tropical origin.

Keeping the BBA in mind we had considered the bus from the airport to our accommodation on Bealey Avenue, near the centre of the city, but when we had worked out that the bus would have dropped us a good walking distance to our apartment we decided that we would get there more direct by taking a more expensive taxi right to the front door.

No expense spared on the 50th Anniversary Tour!

Check in was a breeze with the proprietor being very helpful marking on the map where we needed to head for the activities we have in mind. Then it was time for a coffee and a short walk to a supermarket for breakfast and other items to keep us fed during times of eating in.

The stroll of just under a kilometre up a long street running parallel to Colombo Street(what we remembered as the main shopping street in the city centre)and we were at Edgware and Fresh Choice supermarket.

Laden with 2 bags full, including the all important bottle of sav blanc ,we took Colombo Street back to the apartment and put our feet up until dinner time came around to reach our destination.

After watching ‘The Chase ‘in full we headed back out again in search of the Bealey (bar and restaurant) for dinner. A saunter east along Bealey Avenue into the fresh breeze with the sun in the west at our backs we were glad it was only a short distance.

One glance at the specials board, we thought’ we had died and gone to heaven’.

Bluff Oysters half price,6 for $15 and $30 for 12! There was no turning this down.

A glass of Roaring Meg (Central Otago) and a pint of Guinness and we were full!

It was a slower stroll back to the apartment now with the wind at our backs and setting sun in our faces.

So it was coffee and chocolate for desert while we plan tomorrows moves.