NZ travels part 1

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted, I know. But for the last couple of months, I’ve been either planning or enjoying trips around NZ with various family who were over for the festive period. And all that fun was combined with hosting Christmas and New Year here. If Martha Stewart opened a travel agency, my life over the last month is basically what it would be like. Although hopefully I won’t end up in jail…

Anyway, here’s a belated summary of the first part of our adventures. I’ll be doing a brief write up on the places we visited and those listed below will become hyperlinks as I put up the more detailed posts. But for now:

12th Dec – The in-laws arrive in Auckland.

High point: The house is sparkling after my cleaning overdrive

Low point: The cleaning overdrive

13th Dec –  In-laws and hubby head off to Bay of Islands after a café breakfast and a relaxed afternoon in the sun!

High point: Ioan seeing his grandparents again!

Low point: Having to wait up til 2.30am for my folks to arrive…knowing I’ll be awake at 6.30am the next – or rather the SAME – day. Ugh

Queenstown from the top of the gondola

Queenstown from the top of the gondola

14th Dec – Fly to Queenstown with parents and drive on to overnight in Te Anau

High point: Getting Mum on the luge (which she rode in stately slo-mo splendour!)

Low point: The electricity pylon that came down in the road when a car two places ahead of us drove into it. Hello scary unsealed road detour!

15th Dec – Milford Road to Milford Sound, boat trip and drive back over Crown Range to Wanaka

High point: Seeing Lake Te Anau as the sun rose on a clear day – and the amazing drive over the Crown Range to the characterful Cardrona Hotel

Low point: The fact that my butt fused to the car seat from so much driving.

Wonderful waterfalls in Milford Sound

Wonderful waterfalls in Milford Sound

16th Dec – Wanaka to Geraldine past Mount Cook

High point: Sun-soaked bbq breakfast in Wanaka overlooking the lake and snow-capped mountains

Low point: Sausages should not be served medium rare, Dad

The glorious setting of Wanaka

The glorious setting of Wanaka

17th Dec –  Geraldine to Kaikoura via Christchurch

High point: Listening in to carol rehearsal in Christchurch’s cardboard cathedral

Low point: Sailing blithely past the last petrol station before Kaikoura and then watching the fuel gauge slide down towards empty at a terrifying rate. Turning the aircon off and trying not to brake for the last 20 minutes of the drive – not my finest hour as a motorist

18th Dec – Kaikoura to Blenheim (Marlborough wine region)

High point: Seeing two sperm whales from a helicopter. Awesome! And (cheating with 2 high points) our idyllic cottage at the back of a Marlborough vineyard.

Low point: Realising all three of us plus Ioan would be sharing a room that night and steeling myself for no sleep! (Actually my fears were unfounded)

Vines in wine country

Vines in wine country

19th Dec – Blenheim to Nelson

High point: Wine, wine, wine, wine, wine

Low point: Slightly semi-comatose feeling on arrival in Nelson

20th Dec – Picton ferry over to Wellington, where we met up with hubby, inlaws and wonderful Wellingtonian friends (who doubled as chef and tourguide!)

High point: Fabulous convivial dinner with friends in Wellington

Low point: Slight hire car fuckwittage

Leaving Picton on the ferry

Leaving Picton on the ferry

21st Dec – Wellington to Napier (via Martinborough)

High point: Magical, memorable dinner at Mission winery. Food, drink, views, weather, atmosphere, company were all faultless.

Low point: Driving round in circles in Martinborough to squeeze 10 minutes more sleep out of the boy!

22nd Dec – Napier to Taupo

High point: Catching trout from a boat on Lake Taupo in blazing late-afternoon sunshine, with cold wine in the chilly bin

Low point: Phone battery dying and having to navigate my way around Napier on my own, and against the clock, using only my memory, roadsigns and a lame winery map.

23rd Dec – Taupo to Auckland via Huka Falls and Orakei Korako geothermal walk

High point: Home for Christmas!

Low point: Seven people’s laundry sitting in an inviting pile. Fun Christmas Eve tomorrow…

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