Day 7 was possibly the most packed of my entire trip. I took a scenic flight over the Southern Alps, went to the Church of the Good Shepherd, and went up Mount John to gaze at the (almost) unobscured night sky. But first, I had to get to Tekapo, which meant a 280km drive from Akaroa. The drive was a tiring one through pouring rain, so I was very happy that I had a scheduled stop in Geraldine rather than having to drive the whole way through!
Geraldine was a great place to break my drive. Not only did it offer plenty of indoor attractions in which I could hide from the rain, but it was also a very interesting and arty place that I truly wished I had more than an hour to explore.
For the history buff, Geraldine offers two different museums — the Historical Society Museum and the Vintage Car & Machinery Museum. I was only able to visit the Historical Society Museum because it was conveniently located near the information centre, while the Car & Machinery Museum is a few kilometers out of town. It had plenty of old photographs and a few old machines, and it was intriguing to be able to peer into the past of an area I don’t know very much about in NZ.
Just down the road from the museum was a strip of shops that I could have spent all day in. From cheese to chocolate to alpaca wool, they had an incredible number of natural products to browse through — and importantly, to taste! I tasted three varieties of cheese at the cheesemaker (which is very obvious, courtesy of the large mouse & cheese sitting on the rooftop). The garlic cheese was definitely the most interesting — it had a very unique taste that I couldn’t decide how I felt about, so of course I had to try it a few more times!
The chocolate shop had wall-to-wall chocolate at a better price than you’ll find at Darrell Lea. Plus, the shopkeeper was very friendly and happy to answer my questions, like “how do you make this handmade Easter egg taste so good?” The answer? Chocolate, caramel, and marshmallows. Yum.
I had a peek into Barker’s, and I really should have gone in…but I knew if I did, I would have no time at all to do anything else in town! I could have spent all day looking through all the different preserves and jams, trying to figure out which ones would fit in my suitcase (and which ones Australian customs would allow in).
It was a very good thing that I didn’t stop at Barker’s because I definitely wouldn’t have had time to check out the town’s most unique attraction — the Giant Jersey and the Medieval Mosaic. However, I’m happy that I did get to stop at a few shops (and even buy a few presents for my family at the Alpaca Wool Centre) so I could literally get a taste of some of the wonderful treats that Geraldine has to offer!