Saturday, January 26, 2013

The South of the South. Part 2.

People have been beating down my door for this. Okay, one person text me. But let's not quibble over trifling details.

We left Lake Hawea and journeyed to Ophir for new year's eve, with our first stop en route being Mt. Difficulty winery. It's a shame you can't take a photo of the amazing surrounds of Mt. Difficulty without a particularly unattractive shed getting in the frame, but such is life - not all sheds can be as great as the one you're about be introduced to.

Next stop was Clyde, one of my new favourite small towns in New Zealand. I was slightly concerned when halfway through my giant South Island cheese roll (honestly, were those large cubes of butter really necessary?) Alex pointed out that the damn could break at any time and the whole town would be in major trouble.

The issue of damn breakage means I could never live there without constant worrying. Which is a shame, because Clyde was home to one of the best sheds we encountered. Bear with me, but also, the colours are amazing!

I hope I didn't build it up too much.

Other highlights of Clyde included the angel on top of the war memorial and the latticework on the verandah of the Four Square.

We got to our little old cottage in Ophir in time for a cup of tea and some of chocolate slice the woman who owns the cottage had left. Ophir is on the Otago rail trail and is basically just one long street, but it has some pretty nice old buildings and seems to have had a bit of a rebirth thanks to the rail trail. The cottage we stayed in was old and so cutely decorated on the inside, a bit like an old lady lived there, but cute all the same. There were chickens in a big long coop that ran the length of the driveway, and a beautiful little garden.

After our tea and slice, we drove about 25 minutes to St Bathans to see some friends who have only very recently returned from overseas. I'd never heard of St Bathans before but it was very cool.

There we were, driving along empty country roads when suddenly we arrived in this buzzing little one road old gold mining town where the mine has turned into a lake.

Hannah's Dad and step-mother own the old constable's cottage and up behind that are the ruins of the old school. Everything is old, just the way I like it.

We had beer and chips outside the Vulcan Hotel which looked like a pretty popular new year's eve spot for the locals.

And I think that's enough for today. Stay tuned for Part 3.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The South of the South. Part 1.

I did get better. And the South Island was really awesome.

I think I'm going to have to display the South Island in two parts, because, as per usual, I took a millionty photos. Including some pretty great photos of sheds. So:

Some definite wins in Geraldine. The woman in the shop that is home to The Giant Jersey of Geraldine informed us that her husband knitted the jersey and she sewed it together. Team effort.

One of my favourite parts of driving through South Canterbury was the wild flowers - such amazing colours. I got a bit carried away with taking photos from inside a moving vehicle.

So there we were, driving along, listening to a Canadian post-rock band (I don't know what that means except that some of their songs are a million years long and parts sound like someone forgot to turn off the amp while plugging things in and moving equipment around) when we came around a bend and there was some brilliantly blue water. I had been occaisionally looking at the map but I didn't really know where we were and Lake Tekapo took me by surprise. I think it was the one moment where I went, 'Wow. New Zealand is pretty amazing. I can see why people go on about the scenery.' So there you go, you can quote me Tourism New Zealand. It honestly looks like someone is putting a lot of blue food colouring in the water.

The little church at Lake Tekapo is pretty cute and probably has the best view in New Zealand.

The first two nights we stayed at Lake Hawea, near Wanaka. On the first night our air bed deflated, so it was two nights of sleeping on the ground. Dreamy.

I was not a big fan of Wanaka as a town. The only building I liked was this one (I went in on the Sunday and was all, 'Oh do you think we'd need to book for dinner tonight?' and the man was like, 'We're already fully booked.' Shame.):

It seemed like 90% of the other buildings in Wanaka were glass and stone rich people monstrosities. There was no sense of history and I was not a fan. But the actual Lake and surrounds were nice. We drove around the Lake a bit for a picnic in what turned out to be kind of a marsh.

Then we walked around part of the Lake (the Lake is really big) and I took some artful nature photos.

THEN, we went for a little drive up a gravel road (turns out I love gravel roads; I think it's just been a while since I've been on one) and found this gorge.

And this shed which is the first shed in the Shed Series. It's a good shed, but nowhere near as good as the best shed, which will have to wait for Part Two. This is just like the 2012 Shortland Street finale - so full of suspense.