August 29, 2011

Whispering Falls

"New Zealanders will never walk up or down anything if there's a chance it will hurt more to run instead. Theirs is not a country so much as a fitness camp. Why look at something, they reason, when it will toughen me up if I charge at it with my head?" - Pete McCarthy McCarthy's Bar

When I read this I laughed out loud. Luke and I are constantly talking about how active New Zealanders are and how we feel we need to keep up with them. If you're not out riding your bike in lycra or hiking up a steep mountain, you're not experiencing New Zealand - at least not like a Kiwi does.

Saturday we attempted to be outdoorsy Kiwis and go for a hike, but got distracted by the fact that there is a place called Thorp Bush just down the road from the chalets. We walked around the park then headed to the Sprig and Fern, a local microbrewery pub.

Yesterday we actually succeeded in going for a hike to experience a bit more of New Zealand. It was a hike in the Mount Richmond State Forest Park. It was a little over 2 hours and mostly flat to the waterfalls. When we arrived at the first fall it was very small, more of a drip (or a whisper) than a fall. There was an older couple there and they told us that was the fall so we took a bunch of pictures. Lucky for us another group was coming back from further on the path and told us the waterfall was not this drip, but a little bit further on.

We enjoyed our lunch in front of the actual Whispering Falls before heading back down the hill and off to the pub!

They had a really nice beer garden in the sun!

Walking along the trail

We followed this stream all the way to the waterfall

This is what we were told was the waterfall

This is the actual waterfall!

August 28, 2011

Photo of the Week

I can just see Marissa's eyes rolling in disgust as she looks at this post. The photo of the week - a new fixture I will do my best to keep up with for the time being - is of Nelsy. When we stayed in the Price's house while they were away, we took care of their two cats Nelsy and Skunky. Skunky likes anyone who feeds him, but Nelsy is much more particular. She really started to like us, and when we moved out she used to find us while we were working around the property during the day. The other day she followed us out of the hot tub up to our chalet for the evening. She stood outside while Luke paid her some attention before he came in for the night. Once we were in our room ready to sleep we heard this scratching at the window and a meowing. Luke turned the light on and there she was perched on the windowsill. We decided she probably shouldn't spend the night in the chalet, but she made sure to come visit us the next morning. This is where she sat the next morning for most of Saturday waiting for us to give her a pet.

August 25, 2011


If you think this is a pretty plant, then you haven't been properly introduced. It's called Gorse. It is made up of the sharpest, longest and rudest needle-like thorns which go from the base where it grows from the ground, to the tip where it sprouts yellow flowers to spread its seeds. The removal of gorse has been the dreaded 'go-to' job around the chalets when there isn't any other work to do for the day. Even using the thickest gloves (or sometimes two pairs) we are stuck left and right and scratched up and down our legs and arms. We have attempted to soothe our wounds in the hot tub for the past few nights. The initial dip is the worst feeling, but once that's over its fantastic! Thankfully we have completed the gorse removal. I suppose they will have to find another way to torture us when they can't think of something for us to do!

Some of my war wounds

In other news, I finally got my passport back from New Zealand Immigration (almost 2 weeks after Luke got his back). I have been given my visa extension and can legally stay for the Rugby World Cup until October 31st!

August 21, 2011

Sunday Funday

We have been talking about taking advantage of all of the things to do in the area recently, so Sunday we finally decided to check out some nearby vineyards. We started out thinking we would do a wine tasting or two. Who would have thought we would have found four wineries, a Buddhist temple, and a pub all in one afternoon?

We started out at Kahurangi Winery tasting their Delicious whites - Sav Blancs, Rieslings and Pinot Gris. We left with a better-with-every-sip bottle of Riesling. Down the same road was the Buddhist temple. It was so peaceful and beautiful, we just had to check it out. After spinning the prayer wheel reciting 'Om Mani Padme Hum' we headed into the temple and picked up some interesting free books (with a donation) about the ideals of Buddhism and how to live a fulfilled life. I'll let you know how they are once they've been read!

Then we headed to Woollaston Winery where we had the best red's of the day by far. They were over $30 each and we therefore did not buy any, but the 2008 and the 2006 were so good we were tempted. This was the only free tasting all day so we quickly scurried away before they convinced us to buy our favorite $35 bottle.

After that we headed to Waimea Winery. We had three tastings each and bought a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc. Our fourth and final winery was Seifried's. We were greeted by a lovely German woman who chatted us up for about an hour while she made sure we tasted every wine that they produced! We bought a type of wine we hadn't had before, Gruner Veltliner, an Austrian grape. It was really nice and different from any other type we've had before.

We topped off a perfect afternoon at the Moutere Inn Pub with a glass of wine for me and a beer for Luke and a big giant bowl of fries/chips.

Outside the Buddhist Temple

The prayer you say when spinning the prayer wheel

The first vineyard we went to

Woollaston Winery's yummy wines

Another of the stops on the tiki-tour

Our last stop, Seifried's

Luke at Waimea, happy with his purchase

August 19, 2011

As promised...

Here are the photos of our hard labor! Hope you are all as impressed as Luke and I were!

August 18, 2011

Yay Day!

Today was a good day for several reasons. The most important being that it was the first day in over a week that we didn't have to cut anymore wood!! As enjoyable as it was the first and most of the second day, after the fifth day I was tired of smelling like pine and having logs fall on my toes. We did however take a step back from our work yesterday with satisfaction as we saw the dozen or so piles of wood stacked up about as high as I am (maybe not much for a person, but a lot for wood). I will add a photo tomorrow when I am less lazy and actually take one!

It was also a great day because the sun was shining and keeping us nice and warm. Lucky for us, the cold streak we were having seems to be over and the forecast calls for sun, sun and sun. We were back in tshirts while we worked today and I seem to be getting less and less pale. It must be coming to spring soon!

I also remembered today that I was in New Zealand. Sometimes it's all too easy to forgetLinkwhere I am and take it all for granted. I went for my usual run along the beach path and looked up. The sun was shining down on the ocean, the port of Nelson was in view, and a bellbird stood in my path singing me a lovely song. It was then that it hit me: I am running by the beach in the middle of winter and I'm sweating.

Oh also, this is still my view every single day. Life's pretty good.

August 09, 2011

There's nothing quite like the feeling of wind in your face as you fly down a steep hill on a bike. Yesterday afternoon after work Luke and I decided to go bike riding down (and up) this dirt road near the chalets. It was like our own private bike trail it was that quiet. Once we pedaled slowly (ok, I pedaled slowly) up the many hills we had the most incredible view of the surrounding area which included vineyards on one side and the bay on the other. The only thing keeping it from perfection was the sound of the nearby highway. It was a fantastically sunny afternoon. If only I hadn't forgotten my camera (for all the above views and the fact that Luke was wearing my too-short-for-any-normal-sized-person Babson Lacrosse shorts).

I did however take photos of the job we have been busy with since yesterday - wood splitting. It sounds less than exciting, but has actually been really fun. If you have never used a wood splitter, its kind of like the lazy man's axe. The one we are using runs on gas/petrol and with the simple back and forth of this little lever we have absolutely demolished these rings of pine tree that have been put in front of us. The sun also came out again today so I think I may have actually gotten a tan!

Our big pile of wood we have to cut this week

The beginning of our pile, it was much bigger by the end of today!

The wood being split!

August 07, 2011

Sporty Saturday

Soccer/football was back this weekend as Luke headed down to face the Motueka Masters team. I jogged down in time for the start of the game upsetting my quad muscle a little bit. But anyway, the game was as it usually is at first - lots of energy and running and high kicking of the ball. The Masters had a lead of 2-0 at half time, also around the time when the middle aged men making up the majority of both teams were pretty tired. Although the final score was 3-1, Luke played well (as usual :) ) and we headed to The Tap for weekly drinks and pizza.

Saturday night the All Blacks played the Wallabies in the Tri-Nations tournament that goes on every year. We were invited to go over to the Pope's house for a BBQ and to watch the game on their projector screen. The game went really well for the All Blacks as we were hoping and the food went down a treat too! Especially the apple crumble and ice cream!

Today we are relaxing. Luke is doing the world's hardest sudoku and we're making a yummy breakfast of tomatoes, potatoes, poached eggs and toast! And now it's just started to rain. All the more reason to stay inside and cuddle up with a good book.

That's Luke there, #12 in the orange

and again...

yummy Sunday brunch!

August 02, 2011

Climbing a Mountain

Okay it wasn't exactly a mountain it was more like a hill, but it was covered in snow! Saturday night our host from Lavender Hill, John, called us to see if we wanted to go with them to Raindbow Lodge Ski Field. They were going to be skiing on Sunday and wanted to know if we wanted to do some hiking while they were on the slopes. We were up bright and early on Sunday morning to head over to meet them at their house. The road to the Nelson Lakes National Park was windy and as we headed up we realized that it was actually winter down here! There was so much untouched snow it was unbelievable! Didn't we just come from sunny warm Mapua?

Once we got there we warmed up with a hot chocolate before building up our bravery to hike up the side of one of the slopes to the ridge line and the most incredible view of the lakes. The snow was icy in some places and I obviously fell. I also managed to climb up a really steep hill only to look down and see my hat had fallen out of my pocket at the base. I suppose it was a good workout to climb the hill twice...

Once we got to the top is was all worth it. We looked around to 360 degree views of snow capped mountains and down to the Nelson Lakes shining blue in the warm sun. I think I even got a tan! (its gone now of course)

View of the Lakes from the top!

Snow-Capped Mountains

The ski lift at the bottom

We got to the top and turned around and this is what we saw!