Hello from Horsham!

Good evening! I’m going to (try to) make this quick since it’s been a long day, and I’m tired!! But I missed yesterday (with good reason!) so I didn’t want to miss today. So let’s dial it back…

When we last spoke I was winding up my last day in Greymouth, New Zealand. I woke up the following morning to leave the hostel around 8am en route to meet up with Pat and his girlfriend Lynn to go Whale Watching in Kaikoura (still New Zealand). Kaikoura was about a 3.5 hour drive from Greymouth, and about another 3 hours from there back to Christchurch, where I would be returning to that night, to fly out to Melbourne the following morning nice and early.

So I got a nice early start from Greymouth and arrived to meet up with Pat and Lynn drastically early, I wound up grabbing lunch in a little town called Culverden (aka Middle of Nowhere)… which was… interesting. But… anyway. Pat and Lynn got caught up in some traffic so instead of carpooling we both just drove up to Kaikoura in our own cars and met there for 3:30pm to take a catamaran out to see some whales!

I got there about 5 minutes before them, it was a gorgeous day, not a cloud in the sky, minimal waves, just… beautiful. So I went up to the desk… and found out that the tour was cancelled due to “high winds” o_O. Not entirely sure how that works, but I guess somewhere… there was winds. And the winds were high. On this beautiful calm day. BUT ANYWAY, it turned out to be a good thing.

The three of us went to the Information Centre (I think they call them iSITE’s?) and asked “what exactly there is to do around here”, at which point we were recommended to go see the whales by way of a helicopter! Brilliant!

This impressed all of us, was a bit more money but waaaay worth it. It was a blast… I can’t remember if I’ve ever been on a helicopter, Lynn had never been though Pat had been a few times for work, but it was a great “two in one” thing for us – a really cool chopper ride, and whales up close! We had a blast, it was about 30 mins there and back, we spotted both the whales we were out to see (including the third largest in the world, the sperm whale) and had a great time.

After that very awesome time we decided to find some food, we found a great spot with $15 steaks and a really neat atmosphere – we wound up sticking around there for an hour or so and catching up, swapping travel stories – both of them have travelled extensively so it was great to chat, and after that we decided to explore the town… so that took us all of 5 minutes :p but we went for a walk around and grabbed some coffee/hot chocolate.

Anyway by the time we were all done it was about 10pm, nice and dark so I got my first real drive in the dark back to Christchurch! I have to say, New Zealand does a great job with their roads, making sure you can easily navigate them at night… thankfully. I did book a Hostel but by the time I got back to Christchurch it was about 1am and I knew they wouldn’t be up to doing a check in, so I navigated the car over to the airport where I was due to drop it off anyway in the morning, grabbed my sleeping bag from the back and curled up in the back seat (literally… it was a small back seat) to get a few hours of sleep before my flight in the morning.

Come today, woke up around 6am to really, really, really crappy weather. Raining, very cold, just… generally unpleasant. Especially after sleeping in the back seat of a car all night. So it was fun getting packed up and ready to go, but I do have to say the sleeping bag was very nice and warm. I got out of there as quick as I could and made my way to the terminal (a 2 minute walk… but cranky!) to check in to my Virgin Australia flight from Christchurch to Sydney.

Great flight, nice airplane, had the entire row to myself which was lovely (I call it a cheap first class), I think it was pretty close to a 3 hour flight, I got a chance to do some programming and work on the flight, and touched down in Sydney on time. Looking out the window it seemed like a rather crappy day there too, though I didn’t really go outside.

I cleared through customs pretty quick – love customs out here. So much more pleasant than the US, or even Canada (why are you coming back into your own country???!!!).

Checked in for my next flight from Sydney to Melbourne, grabbed a courtesy shuttle to the Domestic terminal (Virgin did a great job making this painless and easy, thank you!) and grabbed some food once I passed through security. Add two more metal detectors to my counters!

I got a FaceTime call from the family at home as I was grabbing a Subway, everyone went out for Gavin’s birthday today (it’s not for a few days technically) and I got to join in on singing Happy Birthday as they brought the cake in. Was great to see everyone (and the animals of course) and be involved there 🙂

The flight was about 30 minutes late, I guess there was a delay on the way back from Melbourne so we got delayed boarding… but once on it was quick and painless, I think about an hour and a half flight, no customs when we touched down, luggage was quick, and I was almost tackled with a hug from Shauna at just about the same time I found my luggage!

Got a very warm reception from Shauna and her parents, who have been so kind to host me at their house and show me around a bit while I’m here… travel is great, but it’s wonderful to be at a “home” for a while, so I’m very grateful for this opportunity to relax a bit and spend some time with them! Very excited to see Shauna again and hang out – I’ve informed her that since I have now made it out here, she is absolutely now obligated to come to Canada soon. Just sayin’!

Anyway we drove the 3 hours from Melbourne to Horsham, where they live, grabbed some KFC for dinner, watched some TV and hung out watching their cat play around chatted for a bit, and now… I’m going to bed :p

Too tired to do the photo thing tonight, there are pics from the whale watching etc on Facebook so feel free to check those out, otherwise maybe I’ll try to add some tomorrow.

So have a lovely day, night, afternoon or whatever it is wherever you are, I am OFF TO BED! Oz is two hours back from NZ, it’s 11:07pm now which means it’s 1:07am for me, and I didn’t exactly get the most amazing sleep last night anyway :p

G’day! (or G’night!)