After months of deliberation we decided last week to attend my husband's family reunion in a little winery just outside Christchurch. We had been thinking it was a bit indulgent to go over for the May Day weekend, when we were already going over at the end of June.
Air New Zealand offered fares just too good to resist.
Christchurch is certainly not my favourite place on the South Island, but the thought of 4 days in New Zealand, now matter where, was simply irresistible.
We arrived Thursday afternoon and decided to head straight out of town to Methven. My desire to see snow would surely be sated. Methven is almost in the shadows of Mt Hutt, which was due to open on Saturday.
I know all the opening dates of all the New Zealand ski fields. http://www.snow.co.nz/ is the site I first visit each morning when I hop on the computer for work. http://www.metservice.co.nz/ is my second choice of Internet destination. Both offer a glimpse into life in the most beautiful country on Earth. I can view web cams, see temperatures, salivate at those little snow flake symbols, knowing more snow is on its way. I have recently discovered a new site that has web cams positioned in different areas over Queenstown so I can get an even better view. I sometimes feel like a peeping Tom, a voyeur into a life I can only dream about for the moment.
Anyway I digress.
Methven is a really pretty place, with a good vibe, even in non-skiing times. We chose the Blue Pub for dinner. We popped in for dinner last year, so knew the food was delish and the beer nice and cold. The staff seemed revved up, awaiting Saturday, opening day for Mt Hutt. Our little 4 year old informed the waiter that we were from Australia - I don't think they could have missed our accent. Funny how, when you are in a different country, you really notice your own accent.
Friday saw us head off to the West Coast. I was hoping for some snow in Arthur's Pass. It was a magnificent day to travel. Even though we didn't actually get to touch the snow, we did see it from afar. Arthur's Pass is a magnificent drive. Breathtaking scenery and great old pubs for lunch stops to make the trip even more memorable.
We popped into Shanty Town to sate our little history buff (our 4 year old is the youngest Historian in the world). Shanty Town hasn't changed in 6 years!
Friday night was spent in the Beachside Motel at Hokitika. Right on the beach, falling to sleep listening to the crashing waves.
Saturday brought another sunny brilliant day and the hope of snow on Sunday. Weather warnings predicted a very cold, snowy day on Sunday over most of the South Island. Seems all our Christmases were coming at once!
On the road to Oxford.Snow, snow and more snow! On Sunday Oxford, located about 50kms outside Christchurch, was transformed into a winter wonderland. We couldn't have asked for more!