Sunday, April 16, 2006

What I saw and did on my holidays

Coming back to grey grainy England, the first thing I think of is just how spectacularly bright the landscape of New Zealand is on the eye. It is just dazzling. And although our first couple of days were also quite grey, by just a few days in it was almost consistently bright and sunny. It's like the spectrum of colours just got turned up to 11.

Photo taken by Rullsenberg: The view from Hilltop to Akaroa bay, South Island, New Zealand

This is the view from Hilltop to the town of Akaroa on the Banks Peninsula just beyond Christchurch (a frighteningly twisty road to get to it mind... you can see that it was a volcano originally when you look at the geography of the area! [try Google Earth])

We spent much of our time with Cloudy's family who live in a picturesque village called Oxford. For that alone, it was a great trip: being separated by continents (plural) it was so wonderful just to see them, even if having a 9 year old girl riding piggyback on him was probably not top of Cloud's list of things to do less than 12 hours after landing from 30 hours worth of travel! We went to the A&P show in Oxford to see sheep-shearing and other assorted Agricultural and Pastoral activities. We spent time in Christchurch and wandering the visual delights of Hagley Park (some of the time in Christchurch was sadly enforced by Neil's dad being poorly, but we would have gone there anyway).

We took the TranzScenic train across to Greymouth on the west coast: the journey there was indescribably beautiful.

Photo by Rullsenberg: view from the TranzScenic train

However, Greymouth is exactly that (grey) as it overlooks the Tasman sea. Still dramatic though.

Photo by Rullsenberg: the Tasman Sea at Greymouth, South Island New Zealand

Whilst over there we also visited Shantytown courtesy of Kea Tours and the lovely Helen for a taste of the gold-mining era that shaped the west coast of South Island. On the way we took a drive through both the original bush and reforested areas around Greymouth, but at Shantytown the biggest laugh was doing this.

Photo taken on behalf of Rullsenberg: a bar-girl and her boss (aka Rullsenberg and Cloud dressing up in Shantytown, New Zealand)

Of course, coming all the way to NZ we had to go to the beach. For us this was the lovely Woodend beach, just 40 minutes drive from Oxford. Wow. Coming up from the trees to see the Pacific Ocean (or the Specific as I kept calling it) was so thrilling.

Photo by Rullsenberg: view to Woodend Beach, New Zealand

Photo by Rullsenberg: Woodend Beach, the Pacific Ocean

Still, pretty much all that got knocked into the proverbial cocked-hat by our final big trip of the vacation: a visit to the central parts of South Island to see Lake Tekapo,

Photo by Rullsenberg: Lake Tekapo, New Zealand

(And can I also recommend the stunning Tekapo House for accommodation? A view to the Lake and a welcome that makes you wish home was like that).

and on to Lake Pukaki

Photo by Rullsenberg: Cloud at Lake Pukaki, New Zealand

Photo by Cloud: Lisa Rullsenberg at Lake Pukaki, New Zealand

Photo by Rullsenberg on the move: Lake Pukaki, New Zealand (and yes, the water is that blue - it's from the glaciers and this is a PhotoShop-free zone!)

before going on up towards Mount Cook amidst the Southern Alps. Chuffing breathtaking views of snowcapped mountains, with a blue sky with spectacular clouds to end all blue skies with spectacular clouds.

Photo by Rullsenberg: clouds and blue skies on the way to Mount Cook, Southern Alps, New Zealand

Photo by Rullsenberg: clouds over the Southern Alps, New Zealand

Next time we go, we're definitely getting up close to some of the glaciers.

Taking into account the exchange rate was well in our favour, we also ate very very well indeed. There must be some bloody good catering colleges in NZ 'cos the food was all round very good to mouth-wateringly memorable: Dooberry's in Akaroa was a particular highlight, but Canterbury House and Le Bon Bolli were also great, as was the exceptionally close-to-home Cafe 51 in Oxford itself.

So, did we have a good time? You betcha. Will we go back? Ditto.


Anonymous said...

Wow. Wow oh wow oh wow.

Note to self - start saving up for a trip to New Zealand...

Reidski said...

You're back! Welcome home. Sounds like you had the time of your life. And such lovely pics.

Anonymous said...

Ooh, I'm jealous. Gorgeous photos and the trip sounds great.

Did you hear my news? I'm a full-time writer! All most exciting.

You suit the WIld West, by the way. Ace photo, ace pose, ace costume. I approve.

JoeinVegas said...

But the sexy lady on the bar, no stripes?

Anna Lowman (annawaits) said...

Absolutelym stunning. Thanks for the pics :)

c&v said...

welcome back rules... photos are stunning. I might have to reserve 10 minutes each day to keep looking at the fantastic sky&cloud combos... sigh