The Spirit of Tasmania left me in Melbourne at about 6:30 in the morning. Coming back in a big city was a strange feeling, as always.
Before going to the flat of Karel and Marketa, I went to a French bakery to buy a delicious breakfast for the three of us (croissants, chocolate breads, baguette, …). This was sooo good after so many oatmeal breakfasts! I was warmly welcomed by Karel and Marketa, we had such a nice time together! They made me feel at home and I spent most of the days cleaning my clothes, packing my bike and preparing my luggage for the flight to New-Zealand on the next day. I had to visit 3 bike shops in order to find a big enough cardboard box for my bike. Then I tried to find a hand car wash to clean the bike in order to avoid any problems at my arrival in Christchurch. I could only find big automatic car washes, obviously not suitable for a bike. I was beginning to despair having the bike cleaned when I had a bright idea: I knew that at that time of the day, people were cleaning the Victoria Market, an open air market in the city. So I just went there and asked one of the cleaning guy if he could lend me his water hose for a few minutes so that I could clean my bike. I bet nobody has asked this to him before! 😛Packing the bike properly took me a lot of time, on the balcony of the flat at the 43rd floor! I finished it at 10:30 PM with my headlamp, providing some entertainment to the neighbours of the adjacent tower! 😃
Karel cooked us a delicious meal with grilled lamb, potatoes, vegetables and an excellent garlic sauce! It was so enjoyable to eat and talk together, I really hope that I will see them again! We went to bed very late, but Karel kindly woke up the next morning at 6:30 to help me go to the bus stop with all my bulky luggage.
After a nice flight (and no extra fee for the bike, thanks Air New Zealand!), I arrived in Christchurch. It took me 2 hours to clear all of the bio security checks, they opened my bike box, inspected my tent, looked at the soles of my shoes! These guys are really fully committed to it! I think that you would have less problems entering New-Zealand with a Kalashnikov than with an apple or a banana! 🤣 Finally, they told me that I had done a good cleaning job and that everything was fine!
At the airport I could buy a N-Z SIM card in order to continue to share my adventures with you. Then, just outside of the airport building, there was a dedicated place to reassemble bikes after transport. This gives you an idea of how cyclist friendly Christchurch is!!
Indeed, biking to the city centre was super easy and safe, on a nice cycle path! A radical difference with my Melbourne experience!! Except the painful biosecurity checks, my first hours in New Zealand (or Aotearoa in Maori, meaning “the country of the long white cloud) were very promising!