Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Won't you take me to Arrowtown?

The most exciting Christmas present I got arrived on December 27th and came direct from San Francisco. Oh happy day to have Mal and Johnny here.

We spent their first few days bumming around Auckland and it's surrounding areas.

A trip to the Matakana Farmers Market, a hike (tramp) at Tawharanui Regional Park, dinner in the city, and the much loved Sunday long lunch at Poderi Crisci on Waiheke Island.

The Sunday long lunch evokes this kind of feeling -

After some time in Auckland with us they headed to the South Island to do some exploring on their own. We met up with them at the end of the week in Queenstown on Hazel's birthday. That's right, she is no longer zero.

And to no one's surprise she likes cake.

The day before we left though, we got to go to the ASB Classic tennis tournament and see Venus Williams play against Ana Ivanovic in the final.

This also goes into the corporate perk category. It was incredible to be that close, the stadium was so small there wasn't a bad seat in the house.

It was an exciting match and Ana took the trophy... but back to our trip and reuniting with the Walkers. We flew into Queenstown, but stayed in a bach in Arrowtown, 20 mins outside of town. Such a neat property and in a gorgeous setting. We had been before, but it was nice to return.

Hazel liked it too.

We had a great time exploring Central Otago and the Lake Hayes region. Nothing says Happy Birthday baby like a trip to the wineries. So off we went. Some of the stops we made were Chard Farm, Peregrine, and Mt. Difficulty.

Not too shabby Mt. Difficulty, not too shabby at all. NZ is so freaking kid friendly that they have toy boxes in all the tasting rooms, or cellar doors as they are called here.

I mean I still can't believe Hazel is 1. Gulp. Tear. More on that another time. Perhaps I'll do a special motherhood edition so people can find out more about things like how to read the same book a gazillion times and feign shock at the end or learn about the copious amounts of different poo styles out there these days.

Anyway, seeing as the 1st birthday is really about the parents celebrating their first year of survival I carried on like it was my day special day. I mean what one -year-old wouldn't want to watch their parents go wine tasting and stand in line at Fergburger? Don't tell me that that high five I gave you after you first started walking didn't count as a party.

So much good food and wine down this way. We had an amazing meal at Saffron one night and the chocolate croissants from Bonjour are not to be missed.

It was pretty sweet because the lady who owned the bach, her daughter babysat for us one night at the steep rate of $7 an hour. My standards for babysitting are this: keep alive. Mission accomplished.

One of the most scenic places we went to was Rippon Vineyard on Lake Wanaka. I thought the wine was only meh, but who cares look at the setting.

The last day it rained so  the owners of the place we were staying took us on an impromptu farm tour on some property they owned down the road, which was pretty cool. One thing I learned: there is a big export business in NZ in the form of velvet antlers. Velvet antlers, named so because of the stage when the male antlers are covered in soft fuzz.

I had never heard of them, but apparently Asian people have. These are used in traditional Chinese medicine and in the West as dietary supplements. Huh, who knew?

And as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end so we had to say goodbye to our bosom buddies. On their last day, Adam was back at work, but Mal and Johnny and I went Stand Up Paddle Boarding. I have literally been wanting to try it since I moved here and since last summer I was with child I decided this summer without child was the time. Did I get up? yes. Did I fall down? yes. Would I do it again? yes.


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