Well, our holiday was wonderful! I enjoyed our time with friends, and our time on our own, just the two of us was great. I did wonder for a little while, why we were going away - our place looked so beautiful when we got up on Fathers' Day Sunday to leave:
But we did go - and had brilliant sunshine the whole time, until the last day when we were driving home - and even then, we only got five minutes rain, quite a lot of cloud but also some sun. On the way down to Wellington we could see not just the central North Island mountains, but also my favourite, Mt Taranaki. (Didn't get a photo of that though.)
In Wellington we stayed two nights in a Railway Welfare Society apartment even though it is 22 years since Mac worked for NZR. It was great being in the centre of town, so we could walk everywhere - but I don't like apartments; they make me feel very claustrophobic.
We had a day in Wellington when we went to Te Papa (Mac took the camera and took dozens of photos of the Formula One racing cars that I didn't even go and see), then the next day we were off on the ferry.
It was interesting to see the wind farm as we left Wellington harbour - soon we will have one on the hills by our place. Fortunately, I think they are lovely!
No matter how many times I enter Queen Charlotte Sounds, I can't imagine that I could ever tire of the sight.
On our way to Kaikoura we saw some seals - and I managed to take photos of them without poking myself in the eye like last time we went south - I ended up in A&E and had to have eye drops and very dark, huge coverall glasses for a couple of weeks that time!
Last time we were at Kaikoura we were tenting and it was cold and raining - in January. This time it was early September, and the weather was perfect! Again, we stayed in a Welfare place - a three bedroom, older house, very comfortable, just across the road from the water and a pub, and looking out at the mountains. This was the view from the sitting room window.
The shags on the rocks across the road:
The house we stayed in:
Sunrise: worth getting up for! This is what I looked at from bed!
I don't get up at sunrise just for sunrise itself though - we were off whale watching.
We saw five whales. And it was just as awesome as last time.
And a Wandering Albatross:
In the afternoon we went for a walk along the waterfront - I loved the rocks, they were amazing!
And then when we got back, it was a few drinks at the pub before we stumbled home across the road.
The next day we headed off for Christchurch - and saw these amazing Cathedral Cliffs on the way.
The first morning we were there, we dropped Malcolm and his son Hamish way up river somewhere and then went back to their place and waited for them to make their way back down again.
In the afternoon we went fro a drive to Taylor's Mistake (so called because of the ship's captain who ran aground, mistaking this small bay for Lyttleton Harbour.) There were lots of amazing old baches tucked into the cliff faces.
Malcolm and Mac sitting in the ruins of an old house.
On Sunday night we finally caught up with James, who had been away most of the time we were down. It was so good to see him, and where he lives now, as with Malcolm and Vicky - I have a need to be able to visualize people in their places.
Then on Monday it was back to Picton. We got there early, and the ferry was delayed so we were able to have a good look around for the first time - in there past we've just been there for the ferry.
We got to Jenny's house and collected the key from it's hiding place at the neighbours - but nobody told us about the alarm. I'm not sure they are worth installing, as nobody called the cops, despite the awful noise. I had to run down the road to the neighbours and then they had to hunt out the bit of paper with the alarm number on, and in the mean time poor Mac was being deafened and wondering if he was going to be arrested! But it wasn't long before were were in bed asleep. In the morning I walked around and took lots of photos of Jenny's gorgeous garden to make her homesick.
And then we drove and drove and drove and came home to this:
In the (approximate) words of the story about a knight that I used to read to my sons when they were little: "It's a fine thing to go adventuring, but it's great to come home."