Our time in New Zealand was wonderful. We dashed around visiting family and friends across the Manawatu the first few days and then Mike and I parted with Wesley (he stayed with his Aunt Stacey and Nanna Ann) as we boarded a flight to Christchurch.
I almost forgot to add here – that I had a terrible flu and was running to the toilet for a few hours before boarding and praying that I wouldn’t vomit on the plane ride. Surprisingly I managed (with a lot of will power and a lot of deep breathing) to get through the flight and a harrowing 7 hours drive. Mike was sooo good to me during that time helping make the journey less brutal by driving, feeding me and getting me into bed promptly as we got to our accomodation in Twizel. I fevered that night but woke much refreshed the following day.
The area we were driving through was new for both of us and thankfully I managed to stay awake and soak up all the views for a few hours. The first day it was 30 degrees and quite balmy. The following morning we woke in Twizel to 8 degrees (the high for the day). We certainly weren’t prepared for that drastic drop in temperatures – it was unusual for the area as the tail end of an ocean storm had crossed the entire country causing flooding in areas and heavy rains or even snow in our case!
Right, the reason we were on the South island sans wee toddler was to celebrate our friends (Tracey & Elliot Signal’s) wedding. They are a wonderful couple we’ve known since Mike and I first met at Baker Creek Chalets over 8 years ago.
Mike and I spent one week alone together at Lake Hāwea Station (a merino and cattle propertly) in an old cottage, hiking, skippng rocks on the lake, gold panning, eating, reading and resting.
Our gold panning experience here was quite good – the weather was sunny and warm which made the cooler waters rushing at our ankles feel a bit like a soothing spa treatment. It was alot of fun, though we didn’t find anything this time.
Just a little note – The Hāwea Hotel Pub is very well placed with views of the lake and has some excellent food on offer to go with the views!
The little cottage has incredible sweeping views of the lake and some mountainous rugged terrain tucked just behind it for hiking. Moving through the hills it really contrasted the merino farming we are used to seeing Australia.
There are plenty of decent hikes in the area of Wanaka – and on the first day we did Mount Iron which will have you towering above the little town. Mike lamented to me that Wanaka wasn’t the same quiet little place as it was when he first stayed back 10 years ago. It’s now a bustling little town with throngs of tourists.
To paint a picture for you – we went to get groceries the first day at the only supermarket and had to pass through roughly 1000 other patrons to get any food. It was a frenzy! There was plenty of produce as this grocery store has come to terms with the influx of shoppers but we hardly bought anything and just rushed to get some essentials for breakfast. It was insane!
The wedding was an intimate setting on a hill with the view of the mountains as a backdrop. There was also incredible catered food (it wasn’t a sit down meal but more canapés and little boxes of brisket and charred salmon and plenty of lamb chops!).
Tracey and Elliot looked wonderful and really put on a great event for everyone to enjoy.
We spent the last evening in Christchurch in town, where we enjoyed some wood fired pizza from a trendy quarter in the city. It was really cool to see some of the new architecture (wish I took some photos!) that has been commissioned.
Wesley had an incredible time playing with Tess, the cats and all the new toys at his Nans. He was whisked around with Stacey to play dates, swims and all kinds of adventures with family. I was so eager to see him when we got back and he hardly took any notice of us ahah.