After that lovely interlude in Melbourne I landed in Christcurch and the real adventure begins. Side note: if you have an insanely-long flight with multiple stops, try to have one layover take so long you can get out of the airport and do something. Assuming you have the time, of course.
I got into Christchurch at midnight, about 40 hours after leaving San Francisco, and >2 calendar days later thanks to the international date line. And since we're so far south the sun rises at 5am and sets at 10pm. I am subtly unnerved by it all. My parents picked me up at the airport and my luggage arrived without a hitch, which is damn-well should with 4hr and 9hr layovers.
We crashed one night in Christchurch and got up the next morning and drove over to Mt. Cook. The landscape changed significantly over an hour or two when we turned in from the coastal plains.