Well, I'm sure you'll all be pleased to hear that we're finally leaving the country! It's been a while in the planning, but today is the day.
For the last couple of weeks Stuart and I have been holidaying in the South Island, going to weddings, and generally just not going to work which is a bit of a change. In fact I'm getting used to it... I guess we've got another two weeks or so of not working so that's good.
After we left Auckland, we attended a friend's wedding in Dunedin, and Stuart was a groomsman. It was a lovely sunny day, and a lovely wedding between two lovely people. You can see some photos on our Flickr album.
The next afternoon we headed off on our Milford Sound-Central Otago holiday with Stuart's mum, Christine. I'd never been to Milford Sound and I wanted to see it before I left NZ, so we managed to squeeze it in before going to Christchurch. We stayed in Te Anau for two nights and drove to Milford Sound on the Saturday. It was a bit cloudy but with the sun coming through sometimes, and it was beautiful seeing the mountains with mist all over them. We went on a boat ride out to the sea and back which was great, and saw lots of waterfalls and steep mountainsides covered with trees and plants. Have a look at the photos on Flickr.
On Sunday we drove to Cromwell which took most of the day. On the way we saw an old steam train (the Kingston Flyer) and lots of nice scenery. The bushfires in Victoria had made the sky go a funny colour, and also made the sun and moon look orange.
We stayed in Cromwell for two nights and visited Alexandra and Clyde while we were there. On Wednesday we drove to Queenstown and Stuart and I picked up a rental car. We farewelled Christine, who was driving back to Dunedin, and met up with Walter at Vudu and had a delicious hot chocolate while catching up on all the Orion gossip.
Then Stuart and I headed up to Christchurch. We had to do a bit of backtracking, going through Cromwell again before stopping for lunch in Omarama. I had a Jimmy's pie, which was quite nice (I'd never had one before). Then we pressed on, going through Twizel before stopping for a break in Lake Tekapo.
Lake Tekapo was very pretty. We had an icecream and admired the view, then went round to see the stone church. It must be nice to have that kind of view during a church service.
The weather deteriorated soon after Lake Pukaki, and through Burke's Pass it was very dreary. We didn't stop in Fairlie or Geraldine because of the inclement weather. We kept going to Ashburton, where we got to see my grandparents and have fish and chips.
From then on it was just the usual drive back to Christchurch, and we got home safe and sound at around 9.30pm. Since then we've had a nice time in Christchurch catching up with friends and family, and trying to stuff everything into our suitcases. And now it's almost time for us to go to the airport! When you next hear from us it will be from a different hemisphere...