Brett and I went away this weekend for a South Island mini break. Officially to celebrate the 21st of my friend Colleen from Christchurch’s eldest daughter Brogan. But it seemed a bit silly to come all this way and just spend all of our time in Rolleston and the Hallswell Community Centre. So Bretty and I did a road trip. When we arrived on Thursday morning, we were greeted by a Canterbury Nor Wester, which has to be experienced to be believed. I tried to imagine being a good Anglican Pioneer Women in layers of clothing trying to deal with cooking over a fire and failed miserably. How did those poor women deal with the conditions without going mad? And I think the answer is some of them probably did go mad.
But a Nor Wester wasn’t going to slow us down, or hearing that there were torrential rains in the Alps, or even the tornado in Kaikoura. We had places to go and people to see. Here are some of the highlights. Just quietly Brett and I do great holiday. It may have something to do with the fact Brett understands that the perfect holiday needs to include the correct mixture of afternoon sleeps, sight seeing (not too much) drinking and eating (a reasonable amount) and a little bit of shopping – just to help the local economy. And here he is doing the important stuff, carrying the wine and getting ready to drive us to our next destination
- www.brewmooncafe.co.nz/index.php/the-brewery One of Gary from work’s favourite brewery’s and he does appreciate a bottle or two of the Pale Ale
- www.mudhouse.co.nz We stopped here for lunch, but I wouldn’t recommend it. I love their Savignon Blancs. But the food was very average and they charged for wine tastings. Which I think is a bit off really. If you are getting ripped off by people tasting too much of your wine – couldn’t you at least take the tasting price off if you do purchase some wine? And not to sound too curmudgeonly – if you are going to have teenagers being your wait staff. Spend a little bit of time training them. You are charging me $25 for a lamb burger so I think you might have a couple of dollars in the training budget
- Hanmer Springs What a cute little place this is. About an hour and a half from Christchurch with lovely outdoor hot pools. I would love to go here in the winter and do the whole snow monkey thing in the pools. You know sit in the hot pool with the snow all around and the frost hanging off my beard and eyebrows
- More Waipara wineries. I can recommend www.greystonewines.co.nz No charge for tastings here, someone who was passionate about the wines and the area and a lovely setting. And http://blackestate.co.nz/ This winery had a lovely look out and once again someone nice to look after us
- Oxford – I wanted to go here because Libby from book club has a terrible Jo Seagar story. Basically Jo took a booking for a cooking class for Libby and a group of friends to attend. Then Jo cancelled because she got a better paying offer, and was surprised that Libby and her friends wanted to be paid the difference for rebooking all their flights. So I just had to come and see what all the fuss was about. All I can say I can imagine the people of Oxford are very grateful to Jo for creating a reason to visit the place. There isn’t a lot there, and the cafe is just a cafe. Nice enough but nothing that amazing (mind you better than food than at Mud House) And did I think it was tacky that the menu included a page thanking the Ford Dealer in Rangiora for letting Jo drive around in a sign written Territory – why yes I did.
- Gorgeous scenery – you realise you are not in Auckland anymore when you can use cruise control for more than 2 minutes, and are surrounded by brown baked mountains. And the rivers are this amazing turquoise blue – until all the rain from the West Coast runs into them and then they turn into a nice recognisable northern brown 🙂
- Halswell Community Hall – where the 21st was held. This is a cute little hall that 100 years ago would have been the hub of a country community. Now it is stuck on a main road with the city growed up around it.
- Being with a group of family and friends as they celebrate a milestone. The proud parents, the oldies getting deafened by the music, the young ones looking gorgeous, and the birthday girl beaming and enjoying her moment
- The Photo Booth at the 21st – Colleen told us there was a photo booth at the party and to get our photos taken. Silly JAFA’s we are we thought she meant a photo booth, but no she meant someone would take our photo against a backdrop, with accessories. Still Brett and I can rock a Hallswell photo booth like no ones business
- Christchurch rebuilding itself – there is still an incredible amount of demolition going on and they certainly have a lot to get done to get the city centre finished. But we were really impressed with the container stores they had up around Ballentynes. This was certainly assisted by the fabulous weather and the beautiful pair of boots I bought.
- Rolleston – no I can’t say Rolleston is a highlight. And if it really is the city of the future – oh dear But the lovely Colleen and Baz do live there and they are a definitely a highlight of any visit
So a very lovely time was had in the South but it was nice to get back home where in comparison to the South the hills seem green and rolling, the wind just a gentle breeze and that waft of sea air and humidity reminds you, you do live in the South Pacific