I may be slightly biased, but a week here has confirmed my opinion that New Zealand is the most beautiful country in the world. It’s stunning, and even more so when the weather plays nice.

Whitebait catching devices on the beach at Kaiapoi.
Whitebait catching devices on the beach at Kaiapoi.
Monday 18/11: We didn’t see much of the weather on Monday, as work took up most of the day and we holed up inside to do it. I did head out for an hour or so for a walk along the beach with Anne, though.

Tuesday 19/11: Although I’m very very bad at shopping, Craig’s stepmum Anne was brave enough to take me to the outlet mall — and we even found some things that I was happy to buy. Meanwhile, Craig headed out on the golf course with his dad and some of his friends. Apparently he hit several good shots, just all on different holes!

Wednesday 20/11: Just before we left New Zealand, my friend Oscar moved down to Christchurch. Since then, he’s got himself a job, a whole bunch of gigs playing guitar in local bars, and a nice place to live in Lyttelton, just across the Port Hills from Christchurch. We headed there for a barbecue and a catch up, and spent the evening on the balcony enjoying the view out over the bay and eating the good meat and terrible sausages we’d picked up at the Mad Butcher.

New Zealand is awesome.
New Zealand is awesome.

Thursday 21/11: At the party Norrie and Anne threw last week, we were telling one of the guests, Peter, about the Tuscan cooking class we’d taken a couple of weeks ago. When we mentioned that we were planning to make fresh pasta later in the week, he proposed a collaboration: he’d do the sauce, we’d make the pasta.

First, make a volcano...
First, make a volcano…
It sounded good to us, so he came over in the late afternoon and the three of us spent a pleasant couple of hours creating pasta, meat sauce, and tiramisu. It was a spectacular success: his sauce was the perfect complement for the delicious pasta Craig prepared. Afterwards we dropped by his house to see the violin his dad Evan is currently making, as well as Peter’s mediaeval knight wardrobe.

Friday 22/11: The theme of deliciousness continued when Norrie and Anne took us to their favourite Indian restaurant for dinner. It feels like ages since we’d had Indian food, and this was certainly up to standard — yum.

Saturday 23/11: Wanaka is one of New Zealand’s favourite holiday destinations; its stunning location by a lake framed by snow-topped mountains draws both local and international tourists. This weekend, it drew us too, as Norrie and Anne had rented a holiday home for the week. The drive from Kaiapoi took about six hours, which Norrie, Craig and I divided between us; when the road wasn’t too curvy, Craig and I played with cruise control for the first time in our lives.

Wanaka from above.
Wanaka from above.

The weather was bright and sunny when we arrived, and since the forecast for later in the week wasn’t too positive, we decided to make the most of the day and head out for a walk — up a rather steep hill. The views from the top were certainly worth the effort, but getting back down on worn-out soles was a bit of a challenge. Dinner was very disappointing Thai in a local restaurant — we won’t be back there again.

Sunday 24/11: It’s always nice to have a proper Sunday, and today we managed it! Norrie headed back up the hill, as he hadn’t quite managed to conquer it the day before, and I walked into town to buy a few supplies; apart from that we mostly lazed around reading books. Dinner was homemade hamburgers courtesy of Norrie and Craig.

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