On 4 February Tom and I flew north from McMurdo to Christchurch on the last C-141 to leave the Ice. Unfortunately, its being last didn't make it any less crowded.
We both chose to spend a few days enjoying NZ before the long flights back to the States. On one of our days there we took a tour to the site where the scenes at "Edoras" were filmed for The Lord of the Rings movies. The site was at a thousands-acre sheep station (AU/NZ term for REALLY BIG ranch) in the central part of the South Island. The tour took us to some beautiful parts of an amazing island.
Aside from taking the tour, we spent our time in Christchurch enjoying our taste of summer. On the day we left to fly back to the States, a Monday, the Philadelphia Eagles played the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. Before leaving for the airport I managed to catch the first half in Christchurch's largest sports bar. I think everyone in there who wasn't working was American, and I'm sure it wouldn't have been on their big screen if it hadn't been 11:00 AM, but it was interesting to watch the Super Bowl in a country that doesn't spend much time following American Football.