After a month of travel, and 3 weeks of trying to keep up with the STRAY backpacker bus schedule, I was ready to settle in Christchurch for the remaining 5 nights of my stay in New Zealand, and to celebrate New Year's Eve.
Christchurch is the second largest city in the country after Auckland, however with only about one quarter the population (300,000), it's a big gap which is easily apparent once you find the city's center and spend a day walking around.
Everything is centered around the Christchurch Cathedral, set in none other than Cathedral Square. Tourist sights, bars, restaurants, and clubs radiate outward. I kept with the STRAY hostel, BASE, as it was literally right next door to the cathedral. I managed to get a double bed in the 6-bed dorm. In my collective 5 months of traveling via hostels, I've never come across a double bed amidst dorm accommodations. It's a great treat to rest my weary bones upon it.
I went out my first night with the girls from Christmas Eve – hitting up a popular bar/beer garden/brewery called Dux de Lux. They closed early and so many of the other spots were dead. Apparently Fridays are not a popular night out for Kiwis. We heard Thursdays and Saturdays were good though. We did find a crowd at an Irish pub – Sullivan's – on Manchester Street. I had a nice Kilkenny (Irish favorite, lighter than Guinness) while a cover band played Top 40 American tunes. There are some things you just can't escape I guess!
Really though, I'm trying to decompress. My legs are crying out for rest. I've had a few nights where I've been in bed anywhere from 10-14 hours. To be fair, people are waking up at 3-4am for early flights, and snoring, so it's hard to get a solid, deep sleep going. My goal is to see less in Australia, and stay more nights in each place. Hopefully it'll be so hot people won't be moving around much!
I went out with Matt, a Brit, on New Year's Eve. We went to a few bars, watched the countdown and fireworks in Cathedral Square, and finished the night at The Concrete Club which had house on the lower, smaller level, and drum ‘n bass on the main level. I let my inner dance man out, managing my way home by quarter to 5am. Needless to say, I slept late (again!).