The hills to the south of Christchurch were ablaze with a ravenous brushfire during our visit and the sunny morning was quickly dimmed by the haze of smoke. We cleaned out our trusty Wingroad and headed to Hello Sunday cafe for some amazing grub. Afterwards, at Peter’s recommendation, we visited the Royal Botanical gardens. The greenhouses and variety of giant trees were particularly magnificent. Then it was off to the airport to drop off the car and check-in for our flight to Melbourne. The passenger count was pretty light, so Tiffanie and I enjoyed an entire row to ourselves for the 3.5 hour journey.

Our idyllic day quickly faded into nothing less than a shitshow upon our arrival. Long lines through customs meant that we arrived after the rental car company closed. After some scrambling, we decided to just take a taxi to our friend’s house and sort it out in the morning. Upon our arrival, we were treated by three wonderful creatures–Luke the human, Owen the cat and Luna the dog–and our day ended on a more positive note.