Sunday, August 21, 2016

Travel tales - New Zealand edition

Time seems to have gotten away from me once again. Oopsies.

Last time I posted, way back in May, I was about to head off to Phuket for some R&R. That was a magnificent ten day break, and just what we needed. If you're at all interested in what we did, you can just read my summary of our 2015 trip, because it was exactly the same. Days on end of swimming, sleeping, reading, eating and drinking. Oh, and mangos. Many, many mangos. Bliss.

More recently, I hopped across the ditch to visit Sara in Christchurch. It's been way, way too long since we caught up in person and I was at a bit of a loose end in July, so I just invited myself to stay, as you do.

It was a super-fun week, full of food, wine, sightseeing, chatting and generally just chilling. I would have been happy to just hang out by the fire with a cat on my lap and a glass of wine in my hand, but Sara had organised a few fab excursions for us, with the highlight being a trip on the Tranzalpine, an amazing train journey from east coast to west and back again.

I was very lucky to have exchanged the abysmal weather at home for glorious winter sunny days like this:

Basically every day I was in Christchurch was like this. ❤️

We dragged ourselves out of bed early one morning to board the Tranzalpine at 8:00am, and were treated to views like this from our seats:

I was ridiculously excited to see snow-topped mountains. From the comfort of a heated train carriage, of course.

The scenery kept changing dramatically:

We disembarked at the tiny lakeside town of Moana. The Lake Brunner Yacht Club was picturesque, if not quite on a par with the marina at Monte Carlo...

We spent a very comfortable night in a suite at the Lake Brunner Resort, which had huge windows overlooking the lake, and was conveniently located right behind the pub. We're fairly sure we were the only two tourists in town.

The ride back was mostly in brilliant sunshine, with stunning scenery, like this....

I was disappointed not to have seen snow on the ground on the way up, but Arthur's Pass obliged on the return trip. It was cold, wet and slippery, as expected, but still....SNOW.
Shout-out to Sara for putting me up, feeding me - and especially for organising amazing stuff to do.

It was loads of fun, and I now have hundreds of photos to organise into a book - or perhaps a set of Origrami cards. That should keep me busy until my next trip...which is in about ten days. This one will be a complete contrast to snowy mountains, and is likely to involve beaches, elephants and something called a sloth bear. Sloth bears are apparently a thing. Who knew?

I won't promise to blog more frequently, since I'm notoriously slack in that department. But you can always follow my adventures on Instagram.