Family Christmas

We travelled down to Timaru by car, taking the Blue Bridge ferry across Cook Stait. We had Patricia and Sam with us and Patricia has inside knowledge for the first ferry, running off to find us a cabin upstairs. It was nice to have an area we could relax and have our own space.

Peeking in to our cabin

Heading south from Picton we stopped just out of Blenheim to eat lunch at the viewpoint looking over the old single lane Awatere Bridge.

Looking over the rail bridge

We had another stop before Kaikoura to have a look at a seal colony, smelly fur seals relaxing on the rocky shoreline.

Discussing who gets to sit on the rock

The day after arriving in Timaru Keryn and I drove back to Christchurch to pick up Catherine and Paul who had taken the train. We also caught up with my old flatmate Karen, the last time we’d talked was way back at our leaving drinks before we headed over to the UK.

Our late Christmas was good. We did the normal family things; Christmas lunch, presents, lawn cricket and mini golf (I was joint winner with Dean).

Adam with Richard and Keira being read a story by Bridget



Catherine and Patricia on the Caroline Bay Carnival Ferris Wheel

While in Timaru Keryn and I took an early morning trip further South to the boulders at Moeraki. We were joined by my Uncle Michael and we had a cold half hour walking down the beach and looking at the boulders, warming up at the Bolder Cafe (the much more famous Fleur’s Cafe in the Moeraki township was closed for the holiday season which was a pity).

Dried seaweed on a boulder

Beach boulders

The small harbour of the town of Moeraki

When it came time to head back towards Wellington we had a nights stop over in Marlborough to break up the journey. Staying at the Korohi Vineyard B&B near Renwick we were right in the middle of the wine region, so we visited a few vineyards for some tastings. The afternoon we arrived we visited Drylands, the Moa beer brewery and the Makana chocolate shop. Good wine, fine beer and delicious chocolates made for a good afternoon.

After dinner I went for a walk through the local vines, and later on was joined by Patricia and Keryn to head down to the Wairau River for another walk. It was cloudy and windy, so it was moody rather than pretty photos that came out of the short exploring.

Wind in the vines

Slowly rusting away

Clouds hide the evening light

The next morning we visited three more vineyards before we had to head to Picton for our ferry. First up we went to Spy Valley Wines and were there for the first tasting of the day. It was good to be the only people being servered and the hostess was friendly, informative and not holding back with the wine, letting us (well, not me, I was driving) taste eight different wines.

We got a recomendation from Spy Valley for a couple of nearby smaller vineyards. Next we visited the Seresin Estate, an organic vineyard. There were more people here when we arrived but the welcome was just as friendly and the wine good as well. The final winery had the most interesting Cellar Door; a small shack integrated with a lovely little outdoor garden area. Bladen Wines were one of the first vineyards in the area and we had a nice talk with the one of the owners, Christine Macdonald. All too soon we were having to head away so we could get to Picton in time for our ferry crossing.

We had a different ferry on the return journey and it didn’t have the same cabins available, but we found a table in one of the cafe areas and claimed it as our space. It was a colder and windier crossing but the swell was low and the journey smooth.

Grey skies in Cook Strait

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