The bus got into Christchurch around 9pm. I was dropped off at the cathedral and walked to the Rolleston YHA (when booking in Wanaka, the manager had recommended that as smaller and more pleasant than the Christchurch Central YHA). I put my dirty clothes into a washing machine, then wandered back into the city and checked out the restaraunt strip along the river. I had my most expensive meal of the trip - Canterbury lamb, with potatoes and a vegetable stir-fry, for $25.50. Then I found an Internet cafe and spent an hour there, almost to midnight, before I returned to the YHA and put my clothes into a dryer overnight.
Tuesday February 19th
I spent the whole day wandering fairly aimlessly around central Christchurch.
Christchurch was a religious settlement (founded by Episcopalians) and is built around a cathedral, with streets named after English towns (Worcester, Gloucester, Durham, Cambridge, Oxford) and religious figures (Latimer, Cranmer). It has no high rise (nothing taller than the cathedral spire, I think) and not a lot of traffic, giving it the feel of an expansive country town. There are quite a few nice buildings - as well as the cathedral, the original university (now an arts centre) was right opposite the hostel.
I visited Canterbury museum, though I only saw a few of the exhibits, but was too worn out for the art gallery. The botanic gardens are extensive and attractive, though I saw only a fraction of them - my feet being sore, I sat under a tree and read for half an hour.
Christchurch has lots of cafes and a good selection of bookshops.
Wednesday February 20th
Up at 8.40, I put my gear into storage in the hostel and wandered out into drizzle. I spent a lazy morning - eating breakfast, revisiting some bookshops, checking my email again, having lunch - before catching the bus out to the airport. I had a longish wait there, but I had plenty to read and if I wanted to stretch my legs there was a shop selling digital cameras and a cricket game on the television. We had a tailwind on the flight home, arriving half an hour ahead of schedule, and with no problem at all in customs I was home by 7pm (Sydney time).
I found one of the missing socks when I did a complete unpack back in Sydney.