May 17, 2011

Double Cove

The cottage we are staying in keeps us warm with a fantastically easy to keep alight fireplace that we sit by every night now that fall is turning into winter. Although being cold here is really a very different cold than winter in Boston. We are working in the sun during the day in t-shirts, usually enjoying either our coffee or our lunch out on the deck. And lunches we certainly do enjoy! Sue, one of our hosts, is an expert at the one dish dish. She assures us daily that we need to have a nice hearty meal after a hard day of work (a day being 9am-1:30pm). Not that Luke or I need to be persuaded to enjoy a second helping of baked macaroni and cheese, frittata, homemade meat pies or seafood soup.

This is what Luke is smiling at in the above photo, because this is the view from where he’s standing. When we look out the front door of our cottage we are the only people in sight. If it wasn’t for the extensive birdlife, we’d probably be the only life in sight! We have enjoyed row boating out on the cove – Double Cove – as well as kayaking to the pub in the neighbouring Lochmara Bay. Kayaking is definitely much more fun after a glass or two of wine.

Despite the cold evenings we are experiencing at the moment, as long as the fire is going and we are in the comfort of the cottage, the sunsets make it all ok.

May 16, 2011

Goodbye Christchurch, Hello Paradise

May 6, 2011

We said goodbye to Christchurch for good on Thursday and made our way up to Picton, about a four hour drive. The sun was shining the whole way leaving us partially baked by the time we finally made it to the sunny harbour town. Picton is where you can catch the ferry to Wellington, or for us its where you are picked up by private boat and taken to Double Cove in Marlborough Sounds. It was like going into Milford Sound, only sunny and warm. We are at the top of the South Island and although we are well into Fall/Autumn (compare this month to November on our hemisphere – that month where you all started getting snow) it feels more like spring.

After picking up some groceries (there are no shops on the island at all), we were chauffeured by our host Nigel from Picton to our private self contained cottage on one side of the cove. During the summer it is rented out as a vacation home. When we got there we met Nigel’s wife, Sue who gave us some fresh fish as well as pears and apples right from the tree. Since we got here we have been treated like royalty (move over Kate). They left us for the evening to settle in by the fire. This morning we met Nigel down by the jetty to take the boat over to their house on the other side of the cove. We spent the first part of the morning mostly being shown where things were as Nigel explained what we would be doing for the day. We started a bit of work, Luke digging while I clipped some overgrown shrubbery, and before long it was time for a coffee break! Nigel, Sue, Luke and I all sat down to nice cafe style coffee and cookies getting to know one another before we set back to work for the rest of the morning.

My mother would be shocked and amazed to learn that I did manual labor, and probably even more baffled to find out that I actually enjoyed it! Ok I’m not about to go off and become a landscaper, but it was nice to be working outside breaking a sweat! Luke and I both agreed that we felt like we’d really accomplished something once we finished our day at 1:30 not only because we had seen we could do some hard work, but also because it felt nice to being helping someone out with their home. Our job today was to clear a path for a rope to go from the dock up to the septic tank which is going to be emptied on Monday (not by us thankfully!). So I started with clearing trees while Luke dug for the opening of the tank. Then Luke and Nigel set about clearing some trees before we got the rope from A to B. While they did that I was working away on clearing a walking path and covering it with sand. So we finished a bit tired, but happy with the work that we’d done. Nigel was happy with it too which is probably even better!

Once we finished for the day we had a really nice lunch that Sue prepared for us getting to know our hosts a bit better. Then Nigel took us back by boat to our cottage and we’ve spent the afternoon relaxing. Back to work tomorrow on our own!

May 03, 2011

These are a few of my favorite things

I thought I should post some photos on here because all I have been doing is writing and I'm sure that gets boring. Check out facebook for more!

This is a photo of the windblown trees in the Catlins. The Catlins is this amazing place where all you see is farmland and ocean. Even on a cloudy day the sea was shining blue and the grass was bright green. The wind luckily wasn't blowing on the day that we were there, but it is just incredible how the trees has grown here because of the weather.

These are the Purakanui Falls. Ever since we got to New Zealand whenever we would go into a souvenir shop we always went to look at the posters that of places in the country. Mostly so that we could say 'been there, been there, been there', but this photo was always in the mix of posters. It sort of because the one we had to see, so when we finally got down to the Catlins we planned our day around making sure we saw this incredible water fall. It certainly did not disappoint . It is absolutely breathtaking.

Cadbury World is like Willy Wonka and I am Augustus Gloop. When we walked in it smelled of pure joy. On the tour they start off by giving you a goody bag - sort of like a trick or treating bag - and once the tour is over it is filled with chocolatey goodness. They also gave us a small sample of melted chocolate to taste what the chocolate is like right before its made into Dairy Milk. Then it ended with a chocolate waterfall. Don't worry, I didn't get sucked up.

The other tour we did while we were in Dunedin was the Speight's Brewery Tour. Luke couldn't wait (as you can tell by his souvenir tshirt). The tour was great and so were the unlimited beers aftewards. The next morning we went back over to speight's to taste some of their spring water. They have this tap outside the building for anyone to freely use and enjoy the water that they make Speight's with.

We've been back, in Christchurch now for a few days. We came back mostly to sort out our dud car that we had to leave behind before our trip. Luckily someone was immediately interested in buying it upon our return to the city so that job was done quickly. Now we're just catching up with some friends and eating at our favorite restaurant tonight - Tutto Bene. Today we also managed to lighten the loads of our massive bags and clean out Scubi (our reliable Subaru Legacy). Not long before we're heading up north to work in Marlborough Sounds!