Generally speaking, I did most of the driving around the South Island. I really do not mind it at all; I actually find it therapeutic, and it keeps me awake to see everything along the way.
We woke up at the crack of dawn on Sunday to start the first full day of our trip with sunrise at a pier. It was a fail.
We plugged our destination into our GPS named Patrice (it's a How I Met Your Mother reference, and we yelled at her all the time) and slowly made our way out of the Dorset house. We got to the main road we were going to be traveling down to find it to be a one-way street due to construction reasons from the earthquake. And it was the one-way direction in the opposite way that we needed to shoot down. The town was deserted, the side streets were creepy and dreary. I honestly don't think anyone was living in that town, yet the night before we ended up in a Mexican restaurant packed with people.
We also couldn't find any other places to get breakfast. Seeing as we were going to be in the car all day, we needed food before we left Christchurch to head to Akaroa and further along to the West Coast. So, we hit Countdown, one of New Zealand's main supermarkets, got granola bars, bottles of water, fruit, and gummy worms for snacks. As for breakfast, we found McDonald's, ordered filter coffee, had a breakfast wrap and went on our way.
We drove South-West towards Akaroa, a small quaint place at the tip of a peninsula located in the Christchurch region. It's surrounded by various bays and a lot of farm land. Yes, we were outnumbered by sheep throughout the entire drive.
On this drive down, we actually, casually, drove through some clouds. I couldn't see more than 15 feet in front of me. It was windy and cold and as soon as we drove out of the cloud we were able to see the cloud floating behind us.
Akaroa was another fail. We drove to the Otepatotu scenic reserve and expected to see glorious views from the top of a short cliff, since we were already so high in elevation from driving. Unfortunately, there was a giant cloud covering those views. So instead, I have a photo of myself being completely engulfed by a cloud wearing a beanie, a sweatshirt, a jacket and with warm fuzzy socks.
On our way back up towards Christchurch to start our journey towards the West Coast, we drove back through the same towns as we did before, but had completely different views. This is something I compared to hikes. It's always nice having a loop-track when you're hiking but you get a completely different view on the way back if you end up taking an in-and-out track. We stopped the car multiple times for photos, and even once because of an odd smell. We were braking so much on these hills and mountains that our brakes started to smell horribly. We thought Peggy was clunking out on us, but we were just putting her through a lot.
Moving across the South Island, there was a very random clear lake on the side of the road as soon as we came around a corner. What'd we do? Get out. Who'd we meet? A little boy name Leon and his new puppy, Costa. The small lake was our first peak at the natural beauty of the South Island, and the mountains surrounding it were just preparing us for what we would be seeing on State Highway 6.