One can never get enough of the beauty ,South Otago region offers. When my cousin visited New Zealand with his friends, we decided to tag along on their two day trip .
First stop was Lake Tekapo. About three hours drive from Christchurch, the deep turquoise waters against the backdrop of the rugged brown Southern Alps is just breathtaking.On the banks of the lake adding charm to the scenery ,stands the Church of the Good Shepherd .Apparently a favourite spot for wedding photographers.Enroute to Queenstown, stopping at various Scenic Outlooks to admire the magnificent beauty of the landscapes meant our supposedly six hour drive from Christchurch to Queenstown ,was stretched by a couple more hours. Hence we reached Queenstown late at night .
Ready to crash ,The Scenic Suites hotel where we stayed, with its spacious bed and clean self contained utilities ,offered just the cozy comfort we needed. The stunning views of the lake and town were an added bonus.Oh ,the breakfast of eggs benedict with english muffins and bacon we had at the hotel restaurant was large , filling and scrumptious.
Of all the adventure sports that Queenstown offers,
my favourite past time at Queenstown is people watching , having a juicy burger at Fergburger ,
(one of the best tip we received and found immensely helpful to avoid the serpentine queue ,was to order beforehand on phone and then go get the burger . )
Or grab an ice cream at Patagonia. Not only do they have a wider variety to choose from but you can also create your own cone , add things you like . So fun and so so yummy !
or walk on the side path gawking at all the sights and sounds enjoying the touristy vibe of the town.
Looking at the pictures just makes me want to go back there.
Akaroa, which means Long harbour, is an hour and a half drive from Christchurch. we had heard that it was once a French Colony. Having lived in Erstwhile french colony , Pondicherry in India and still cherishing the fond memories gathered there, we were more than eager to visit the place.
We might have taken a little longer than that as we stopped in a couple of places
We stopped at the first picnic spot we spotted, took some time watching the Swans glide gracefully on the Lake Ellesmere
and then continued on
Enroute, we stopped at Little River and a little dose of history awaited us at the railway station now converted into a little craft store.
Taking one on a trip down memory lane of a bygone era.
We sauntered around entranced by the antique memorabilia on display…
ticket collecting booth ,
A couple of stops at a few scenic views , later we were in Akaroa.
This picturesque town is the perfect place for a leisurely stroll around , stopping by the Museum to get an understanding of the historical heritage of the erstwhile French Colony
The old church.. where the choir was just starting practise for the next day’s Church service.
The French street names and the antique buildings bear witness to the bygone era.This is the only thing that bore any resemblance to Pondicherry.
A French bakery, Cooking school and loads of souvenir stores in the town centre are a sure giveaway for the French flavour that is still very much prevalent in the town.
The mosaic place …. which was closed as we were there late afternoon… were all very interesting to look at. we heard this was a must visit ,maybe next time.
Other than the idyllic old world charm of the town,
a walk down the beachfront lounging listening to the sound of the water and the sea gulls is extremely relaxing.
watched the boats on the bay.
The views were just magnificent specially at the golden hour,It must be a popular wedding destination , as we did see a wedding party getting some photos around the town.
We seemed to be running into them around the town.
we fell in love with this little car. … guess it belonged to the wedding party
Admired some old buildings
Had an ice ceam
before heading back. The drive back was just as beautiful.
we do plan to go back sometime in the summer.
Picturesque Akaroa came alive with festivities and fanfare,sporting a very French look with berets, nautical stripes and neckscarves
to celebrate its French Connection that started 175years ago in 1840.
The weather was perfectly perfect and in a very well organised event,
there was live music,
yummy food, street markets,costumes,
embracing the french culture and heritage.
The streets decorated with Frenchflags and colours of the French Flag, were abuzz with locals and tourists alike, eager to get a taste of French culture and revel in the joie de vivre that was in the air.
I was so interested with a couple of games, versions of which we have in India too… its called Palaankuzhi,
Infact ,I have seen this game played in Pondicherry too.
Our exposure to French culture started with Pondicherry and I have been in love with the simple elegance of the French ever since.
Which reminds me that I should go search the Pondicherry pictures I took when we went there in Summer 2014 ,India.
It was just the thing we needed to unwind and get enthusiastic about the coming last and final term of school while giving the Spring break a finition fine.
When a friend invited my son and I to spend a long weekend with her at Hanmer, we jumped at the chance. She asked son to invite a friend along and Lil B was thrilled that he would be able to spend time with his friend.
I had heard that Hanmer is a lovely little town , an hour and a half drive from Christchurch. Famous for its Thermal hot pools.
Once there, I realised thats not just what Hanmer has to offer.
A walk up conical hill while being a test of your fitness level,
will also treat you with some of the most breathtaking views .
After a little rest and food, you could do the walk in the picturesque forest
and enjoy the gorgeous tall trees,
|the one piece of wisdom that I will not forget in a hurry
Do a bit of shopping in some of the quaint boutique shops; there is a lovely little shop the name of which slips my mind, where I saw some stunning jewellery and other handmade things along with art by local artists featuring native subjects.
there is a bit of history hidden there too in the Queen Mary hospital where war veterans from the First world war were treated. Even though its closed at the moment, it is worth a peek to get a glimpse of the past.
And ….then, one can go and soak up in the thermal pools all day long to relax those tired muscles, while the children zoom down tirelessly on hydroslides there.
We decided to take the Kaikora route in the hopes of seeing the seal colony. We drove past the Pelorus River so beautiful
J took a detour and decided to drive around Picton . Picton is the main link between South and North Island we had heard.
However , at the first mention of Picton , you might not hear that ,from us or the boys. What you would hear is…” Have you been to Billy’s Burger in Picton? oh, you must go there, they have delicious burgers there!” I’m not joking.
Someone actually asked us , ‘so what did you do in Picton’? and one of my boys , piped “Ate some really good burgers at Billy ‘s Burger, and they have some good milkshakes with some funny names too”
Incase you didn’t figure it out yet… our family’s love for food is very well and throughly documented now!
At one point we thought we missed the Seal Colony when J spotted one on a rock… we stood there for a while and looked at them wondering if we would see more.As we drove further down the road, we were rewarded with the sight of perhaps the largest Seal colony ever!
so many seals ! So exciting!We just stood there for a long time watching them in the drizzling rain, taking pictures,putting up with stench coming from these animals obviously
There’s something about seeing animals in their natural habitat, don’t you think?
If you were to ask me , I would say seeing these Seals frolicking around was the highlight of my trip.
Takaka took us completely by surprise!We were not expecting a little colorful Indie artist/hippy/boho town when we first saw the road sign . Even when a fellow traveller told us at Hawke’s Lookout about Salmon fishing at Takaka, and that we should check it out,we did not have a clue that we would greeted with so much vibrant colours in a little town.
My kids thought that the town had my name written all over it. “Mom ,you should try convince dada to live here ,rather than in Motueka , your inner hippy /boho self will be very happy here “they joked .
The reason why Takaka will remain etched in our memories for a long time , however ,is very different.
We were hungry and were in a dilemma trying to choose a place to have a quick snack. That is when The Dangerous Kitchen caught our eyes.
To be honest ,we were a little skeptical about going in to dine at first, we kept going back and forth but then got brave and decided to go anyway. Boy!Were we glad we did!
I thought these wall art there were cute and funny
The grilled chicken with cranberry and Brie pizza we had here ,was just so amazing that we haven’t stopped talking about it!
Its always all about food ,for our family.