When we were planning the trip around New Zealand… it felt like a lot of it was spent discounting things we couldn’t do with sproglets in tow…. no Queenstown – the extreme sport capital…. no Milford Sound – too far to go in the time we had… no Franz Josef – the trek to the glacier would not be enjoyable while being a pack horse…. so as I said to Adam – good news & bad news… bad news is we can’t do everything – good news is we will just have to come back!!
With the above in mind we planned a small loop south of Christchurch (which is then followed by going north – eventually on to the North Island).
So on this loop – our first stop was…
We arrived pretty late (5pm being late in our books!) – this time I had all the accommodation details written down in my trusty notepad (having made the rookie error in Christchurch of having all the info in my phone and no Internet until I got on to wifi – so I set the burglar alarm off 😳). Pasta & pesto followed by a little wander around meant it was soon bedtime!!
Oamaru was a fab place to stay for a couple of days – we went to the weird but wonderful Steampunk HQ – clearly some crazy guys who like welding stuff together have found a niche!!
‘The Portal’ was out of this world beautiful, we went in twice as we enjoyed it so much. It sounds too mundane when I describe it so I’ll just add the picture!
We had a lovely lunch at the Tees Street Cafe – though G – who I’m always so proud of for eating everything & anything – asked for bread & butter… and then refused the drink she’d ordered (😤grrrrr) so just had water…. probably a good job as the bill was still $60 😂😂
Following nap time we walked down to Deja Moo to sample some of their famous Salted Caramel ice cream…. sadly they had just sold out so we made do with hokey pokey (him) chocolate (her) espresso (me)…. a little run in the Steampunk playground (I don’t really know what Oamaru would be known for without this theme?!) … and the day was gone!
The next day was torrential rain so our thoughts of going to the Farmers Market quickly disappeared & we packed up & got on the road to Portobello near Dunedin.
This was the first time we’d stayed in a ‘proper’ holiday place rather than Airbnb. We stayed 3 nights at the Portobello Motel – still an apartment with kitchen so we could chill out (drink and play cards!) after the kids had gone to sleep! It was great & the lovely couple that own the motel provided a lion shaped booster seat for G, a highchair for F & baby bath. With wing back chairs and utilitarian carpeting…It only slightly felt like a retirement home 😂
Completely bi-polar weather meant we arrived in weather that felt like we were in Whitby in November and then the following day we had blazing sun! It was still overcast and chilly as we woke so we headed to The Toitu Otago Settlers Museum – really good Museum with plenty of interactive exhibits and FREE … goes right through to modern(ish) day… Adam and I were most perturbed to see things from OUR childhoods in a museum!!!?
After nap time… (love nap time!!!) the sun had found his hat…. so we applied the dreaded suncream & headed for Allan’s Beach… and met a few of its residents! Have to admit – Adam & I were not the best sea lion spotters – and discounted several as rocks until we saw other people taking interest 😳😬
Our final day was pretty chilled – a trip to the supermarket (crikey NZ is not a cheap place to live?! Our supermarket bills make me wince a little!).
We had a lateish dinner (7pm) as we had arranged to see the Little Blue Penguins coming to shore on Pilots Beach at the Royal Albatross Centre…. this event started at 9pm and we knew it was likely to be 11pm by the time we were back…. but we really wanted to see them. Have to say G was a star – generally well behaved & chatty as we waited for over an hour for the first sighting of penguins coming to shore…. However she and Adam did miss the arrival of the first raft of penguins due to her sudden need for the loo… Adam tells me it was the scariest loo he’s ever been in – festooned with cobwebs & a multitude of large spiders!! Seeing the penguins was a fantastic experience – great views & a really good program for supporting the penguins and to help them thrive in safety!!
After a late night… it was an early start… one of our longest distances in a day… almost 4 hours to Omarama. We stopped off at the Moeraki Boulders for a picnic and a play on the beach to break the journey up!
F had his first taste of ice cream and loved it – which was impressive as he’s pretty much refused all other food 😂😂. It turns out weaning a reluctant eater, while travelling, means their first foods are chips and ice cream 😳
Our place was just outside Omarama… Ben Dhu Station – a sheep farm in the middle of nowhere (as Adam found when he had to drive 28km to an ATM)! It was an awesome, yet cheap place to stay . Great accommodation – 3 bedrooms in one cabin – bathroom, kitchen & living room in another. It was so dark at night the stars felt closer – Adam took some great pictures!
G’s favourite thing had to be the 2 pet sheep & pony next to our cabin that would run to you when called to be petted & fed. We generally took it easy – went for a walk around the Clay Cliffs ($5 honesty box on the way in – well worth it – but the farmer must be pleased with his land!!)
Just an hour away – our next stay was Lake Tekapo… We arrived and the Lake looked magnificent with a backdrop of mountains… we were too early to check in – so went for lunch, a little wander across this new bridge – and then back across to our car to find our accommodation & check in.
As we drove I was disappointed to be so far away from the Lake… couldn’t for the life of me remember what I’d booked. ‘Motel on the lake I think’ and for the first time I realised I had planned & booked most of this trip whilst feeding through the night… while suffering with baby brain. We checked in & they gave us a map to our accommodation…. only the very place we’d been stood 15 minutes earlier – next to the bridge over looking the famous Church of the Good Shepherd.
Turns out all the accommodation is pricey around here… and apparently Adam & I had had a conversation about going slightly upmarket here… I remember nothing. But it’s fab!!! Gorgeous kitchen, huge picture windows over the lake, 3 bedrooms…. we never got around to using the piano or library 😂😂😂 There is a vague bell that makes me think I thought I’d book it while I looked for alternative cheaper digs?!
We’d looked at TripAdvisor for things to do in Lake Tekapo… and found Air Safaris…. suddenly all the places that we’d wanted to visit but had crossed off the list were available again – Franz Josef Glacier, Fox Glacier, Mount Cook…. so we decided to spend our Christmas money on this hour long flight. It was epic!! Beautiful clear day… F slept most of the time in the baby carrier… and G was very good & enjoyed it – despite suffering from air sickness towards the end!
One of the reasons for staying in Lake Tekapo was the Unesco Dark Skies… so when I got up to feed F… Adam went off to take some pictures.
And so…. once again we are headed to Christchurch….