Monday, February 1, 2010

New Zealand Honeymoon: Part I

Once we finally arrived in Christchurch, on the east coast of the South Island, after our horrible debacle flying to New Zealand, we were ready to start our trip. One of our favorite parts? Our rental car and driving, not only on the wrong side of the road, but on the wrong side of the car! [Note: Mr. CB didn't let me drive once. Probably a good thing.].

Day 1: Christchurch

We checked into our first hotel, The George, to find, well, George on our bed!

So, we brought George along for the ride in the same way that the French Bulldogs brought their gnome, Sheldon! Once we'd had a minute to breathe, we strolled around a rainy city that resembled Holland more so than, say, the Lord-of-the-Rings' Shire.

Have you ever seen flowers the color of the ones behind me?

This was followed by a drive along the Port Hills, which we were supposed to be mountain biking but the sleet wasn't really appealing on two wheels.

That night, we went to dinner at our hotel's restaurant, Pescatore, which began with a berry spritzer (see below).

Day 2: Christchurch --> Hanmer Springs --> Kaikoura

We took a detour from Christchurch to Kaikoura (about an hour and a half north) through Hanmer Springs, a high altitude hot springs destination. The drive was gorgeous.

Photo by Mr. CB

Because it was springtime, there were TONS of baby sheep milling about.

Photo by Mr. CB

While driving on these one-lane country roads, we weren't sure what the speed limit was. We passed a cop and Mr. CB decided to slow his driving so he didn't get a speeding ticket. It didn't matter because we got pulled over anyway.

"The speed limit around here is 90 [kilometers per hour]," the cop said, "but people like to drive 100. So just go as fast as you can without losing control of the car, okay?"

We were in shock for the better part of the next hour at how back asswards this place was.

The country road opened up onto the beach in Kaikoura and our jaws dropped. We'd never seen a more beautiful place on Earth--turquoise ocean to our right and snow-capped giants to our left. It was so surreal.

My absolute favorite hotel we stayed in was in Kaikoura: The Hapuku Lodge and Tree Houses.

The view from our tree house (Starring George):

From the other way:

My favorite was the view from our shower:

The inside was not too shabby either.

Day 3: Kaikoura --> Marlborough

As many of you know, Marlborough is New Zealand's biggest wine region with what I think is the best Sauvignon Blanc in the world. We had to make a stop.

Which turned into a beer tasting at one of New Zealand's only beer makers (they only have about four!).

Next up: horseback riding and mountain biking in Abel Tasman State Park...

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