Sunday, February 22, 2015

Whistlestop tour of the South

With a few days free before we had a function in Wellington on the 6th of February we decided to fly south and see Noel in Dunedin.  Then we decided to bolt on visits to Arrowtown, Wanaka, and Waitahuna on the way – as you do.

We flew into Christchurch, picked up a rental car and drove off.  Andrew, in anticipation of good temperatures, had packed his togs hoping to have a dip along the way.  Instead of togs we should have packed merino jumpers, raincoats and umbrellas.

It was a lovely evening in Arrowtown with Anne & Ron, Andy and Libby.  Just to keep the temperature down there was lots of rain, including a major downpour. 

The next day we headed through to Wanaka where we did 2 good things.  Firstly, as recommended by Anne, we had lunch at Francesca’s Italian kitchen and Andrew discovered Polenta Fries – absolutely delicious!  Then secondly, we then went for a walk around Diamond lake where we were about the only New Zealander’s (based on the accents we heard) and there were plenty of tourists doing the walk.

Diamond Lake

We then drove up the Matukituki Valley to Raspberry hut.  Next time we are in the area we will do the walk to the Rob Roy glacier, but this time we really didn't have the time or the right walking gear.  But it was a nice drive, with the National Hang Gliding championships going on alongside the road, and Andrew had the opportunity to tweak a few tourists not used to driving on gravel roads.

We stayed the night with the Somervilles where we we treated to great company, superb wine, crayfish, Stewart Island salmon, and just to keep Andrew happy - some lamb.  While the day had been fine, it of course rained – just so we didn’t get used to the summer feeling.

wanaka combined

Back on the road we headed South.  We stopped in Alexandra and had lunch with Tony & Jane, who were house-camping in Alexandra.  After a great lunch at the Courthouse cafe, it was on the road again.

At Waitahuna it also rained, heavily – good for the grass of course.

waitahuna

Annie & Pete also treated us to great evening with good food and conversation.  The next day it was off to Dunedin via Taieri Mouth.  This turned out to be one of the sunniest spots of the whole journey – but still not enticing enough to swim – after all it is only February, and supposedly mid-summer.

taieri mouth

taieri mouth2

Finally we got to Dunedin.  Peter and Sue kindly put us up for two nights and continued our run of gracious hosts and good food.  The second evening there we headed out for some good Japanese food - no lamb in sight.
 
In Dunedin we got rain, and plummeting temperatures.  But we still managed to take Noel out to lunch at the Carey’s Bay pub where the seafood chowder was superb! 

Port Chalmers

Then back on the road to Christchurch and home to Wellington

The little event we had to be back for, was the Waitangi Day reception at Government House.  3,000 people, in suits & ties and day-dresses,  gathered on the lawn. The Governor General gave a good speech and Soul3Mio sang the national anthem.  The Government House catering team produced delicious food including strawberries and cream, tiny sandwhiches, 3000 oysters, and there was limitless wine flowing.  And Andrew stood beside Trelise Cooper for the speeches (or did she stand beside Andrew?)

waitangi2

waitangi rec

(Picture from the Governor General’s website…we were in the area right at the front at the left of this picture during the speeches)

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