Saturday, 26 April 2014

South Island Adventures: Christchurch, Kaikoura, and Blenheim

By now most people know Kiwis get a lot of holiday time. In case anyone needs a refresher it's 4 weeks of vacation on top of 11 public holidays. And since we are throwing out facts it's also one year maternity leave. US start taking cues. Like now. Anyway, one of those holidays is Anniversary Day and every city has it's own anniversary. For this year's Auckland Anniversary, which was at the end of January, Adam, Hazel, and I took a trip to the South Island.

People often comment on how much we travel with Hazel, and yes we do, but people do you understand what a breeze it is to travel domestically here? I know I've talked about it before, but imagine just rolling up to the airport, printing your boarding pass a few minutes before the flight, and walking on board. Seriously it's that easy. Not even two hours later and voila you are South Island adventuring.

We flew into Christchurch and really just spent the morning walking around the city and hitting the highlights. We fueled up at C1 Espresso, a local favorite. Christchurch is New Zealand's second largest city and in February 2011 it suffered a terrible earthquake destroying large parts of the city and killing 185 people and injuring many more. One cathedral that was struck has now been rebuilt from cardboard, local wood, and steel making it the only cathedral in the world made substantially of cardboard. It was pretty inspiring to be there.

Next stop, Kaikoura. WOW, this place was so beautiful.

Because it's so pretty Kaikoura naturally means, "meal of crayfish." According to Maori lore, some dude named Tamaki-te-rangi would stop here to eat while chasing his runaway wives and always get the crayfish. So when in Rome...I mean Kaikoura.

Adam apparently was irritated he couldn't find his other wives, but he enjoyed his lunch none the less. So this place Nin's Bin where this picture was taken has been on the side of the road for years. Crayfish is basically like a lobster in that it is expensive, delicious, and best dipped in butter. A stop well worth it.

Other highlights include hiking the Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway:

It's no wonder this town's tag line is, "Where the Mountains Meet the Sea"

Drinks at the Pier Hotel (don't miss the trampoline out back), seal colony, and ice cream at Poppy's.

Kaikoura is actually the whale watching capital of the world, yes the world! But due to choppy seas we didn't make the trip. FYI, for those travelling with a baby that want to do the whale watch there is a local babysitter who will take your kid to the park and around town while you go on the boat. For those that actually went, what it might have been like:

We stayed at a funky spot called the Artist Retreat that had farm animals and incredible views.

From Kaikoura we drove up the coast to Blenheim. Blenheim is in the heart of Malborough and Malborough means wine!! Malborough is one of the world's largest sauvignon blanc producers. That's one of the white ones for you non wine drinkers. Oh my goodness, so much good wine and in such a beautiful setting. Over the course of the weekend we managed to hit up many tasting rooms including Hunters, Fromm, Spy Valley, Nautilus, and Cloudy Bay.

Lunch at Hans Herzog:

And Allan Scott:

We stayed in a lovely little cottage amongst the vines. It was perfection.

I mean seriously.

Also not to be missed, the view from Brancott Estate: 

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