Thursday 14 October 2021

A Visit to the Mainland

Catch-up; March 2021

Back in late March, Royalty arrived in the high country. Family Royalty that is. Mum & Dad who came to check out Night Sky Cottages for themselves. They flew into Christchurch from Napier on a direct flight and I met them at the airport after catching a bus from Twizel. We hired a car and I drove them back to the cottages, they hadn't been in the South Island for many years so it was great for them to sit back & enjoy the scenery.

For the first ten days we relaxed at the cottages and fitted in day trips (complete with a picnic lunches) around the Mackenzie Country. One of our first trips was to Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park.

Mt Sefton & White Horse Hill Campground- Aoraki/Mt Cook
The weather was fabulous, we'd timed the visit just right, not too cold nor too hot. Just stunning blue bird days. 

It was an especially calm day when we visited Lake Ohau &  the Ohau River weir, the water crystal clear.

T-Ohau River, Left- Ohau River outlet, Right-Lake Ohau & Ben Ohau
Looks like Banksy's been visiting the high country too. Rude Kids- on one of the canal towers 

I took them to see some of my my favourite places- Lake Ruataniwha

Oahu C Camp Lagoon at Lake Benmore; autumn was just around the corner.

We took the long way back to Christchurch; down the Waitaki Valley to Oamaru, checking the dams out as we went and stopping at Kurow for lunch & a hot drink on the way.

Followed by a pit stop at Duntroon where the art on the toilet block brought a smile to our face. The A2O Cycle Trail (Alps to Ocean) passes down the valley too. There's now a new toilet block nearby but I think they've left this there as well.

While Mum & Dad rested up at the Oamaru Air BnB we'd booked for the night, I took myself on a walking tour of the Oamaru Public Gardens which I thoroughly enjoyed, especially the colourful blooms in the hothouse.

The next day we headed off to Christchurch, first stop just up the road at the Rainbow Sweets factory shop. Just for a look of course. We all have a sweet tooth although I think Mum & I take the family cake for scoffing our loot in no time at all. Dad tends to make his last a few weeks (if Mum doesn't find his stash). Half an hour & several large bags of sweets later we made it back to the car. 

Our next stop was Riverstone Castle, one of my favourite places to visit whenever I am passing. I knew Mum & Dad would enjoy a visit too.

We had a lovely lunch at Riverstone Kitchen before exploring the gardens & shops. Dad looked very pleased with his favourite Blue Cod & chips ('rabbit food' passed over to me). I had great delight in letting him know that this particular dish was our 'takeaways' back in the original Level 4 & 3  lockdown last year. We spent that Lockdown just down the road at the Glenavy Waitaki Holiday Park & Riverstone Kitchen supplied takeaway fish 'n chips when we moved to Level 3. 

Mum was in her element, she had a craft shop at Bay View in Hawkes Bay for many years and spent her 'retirement years' selling at craft markets. She even met and had a natter with the owner, Dot, who was unpacking stock. 

For the next few nights we stayed at an Air BnB in Rolleston (near Weedons NZMCA Park, where David was due to arrive from Twizel with the 5th-wheeler a couple of days later).

Dad wanted to do a tiki tour of Akaroa Peninsula, he hadn't been on the road around the top of the rim before. We stopped at Little River for a morning coffee and then I turned off at the summit and travelled clockwise around the top. Which was just as well when Mum saw how far down it was on some of the road edges on the inside or when I pulled over to show them the view.

Akaroa Harbour, Banks Peninsula

Once down from the top we had lunch & an icecream in Akaroa township before heading home.

When planning the trip I had asked Dad if he wanted to visit some of his old haunts; he's a born & bred South Islander. At the time he'd said no he wasn't fussed but once we were in Christchurch we decided we couldn't get this close & not check his old hometown out. He was born in Woodend just north of Christchurch, went to school in Woodend and also spent some time in Sefton just a little further north before his family shifted north to Havelock North in Hawkes Bay.

St Barnabas Anglican Church, Woodend

So we did the obligatory tour, stopping at the family church (which is on the main highway) and finding many of his Eder relations on the cemetery burial list. Next stop was Dad's primary school, then locating his old house (with add-ons) down a back road & checking out the cenotaph roll of honour for relatives & finding his Uncle Jim Eder listed there. 

Then it was off to Sefton where some of his cousins still live. We drove a few more back roads, Dad giving us a running commentary of who lived where & what went on there before finding our way back onto the main road near Saltwater Creek where he used to go white-baiting with his cousin. Funnily enough the rest area beside the creek is where we often stop for lunch or a cup-of-tea break when we're travelling. 

And then before we knew it it was time for them to fly home. We all had a lovely time and for me it was great to spend some quality time with Mum & Dad and show them around our new home province.