Christchurch is the biggest city on the South Island...and the most British colonial. There's a ton of old classical buildings that have been repainted bright colors like teal and magenta. It was pretty cool. Anyway, we slept in, worked out, and had a great breakfast at the Honey Pot at Sol Square (the BEST shopping in New Zealand). We loved that we didn't have to do a ton of driving today, so we took it slow. While exploring the streets of Christchurch we noticed that everybody close to our age was decked out like it was prom, except with huge elaborate hats and/or feathers in their hair. We were finally told it was Cup Day - the big horse race. New Zealand is apparently world famous for their thoroughbred horses. That explained the elaborate head pieces. We were super underdressed, but it made for some fantastic people watching.
Later that morning we wandered over to the Botanic Gardens to go for a walk along the Avon river and to do some relaxing. the garden is split into sections: the rose garden, the water garden, the aroma garden, etc. and all are beautiful. We wandered a bit and then found a great shady spot under this HUGE tree and read for a while. Well, Kenny read and I played with my camera. It's my favorite toy!
After Christchurch we got some snacks for the quick trip to Hanmer Springs. Kenny found this soda at a gas station on our way to Milford Sound, and loved it, so he bought one every time we stopped. I don't know if he liked the flavor or the name... (you may need to click on the image)
Hanmer Springs is this tiny alpine town that has natural mineral hot springs. They've built a whole resort and day spa around them - kind of like Glen Ivy in Temecula, but smaller and more natural and rustic. Our goal was to make it to Hanmer Springs with enough time to soak in some mineral baths for a few hours. The scenery along the way was "typical New Zealand" and breathtaking every second of the way. It was almost boring how consistently beautiful it was. Oh, and here's our awesome little rental car. Enjoy!