Saturday December 26
We popped into Christchurch city centre for brekky, picked up a local sim card for my phone (who wants to pay international roaming charges?) and got on our way. I called to check in with Mum and Dad, who informed me that the change to airline regulations had come through earlier than expected and I could have taken my knitting on the plane the day before. Facepalm! I wish someone had told me earlier!
Our destination for the night was Kaikoura and we decided to drive via Hanmer Springs, stopping off to take the obligatory photos of beautiful scenery on the way.
We had lunch in Hanmer Springs but decided not to pay the fee to go into the hot springs as we would only have about an hour before we had to get back on the road.
In Kaikoura we checked into the Lobster Inn Motor Lodge and headed into the town for a look around. We picked up some supplies at the supermarket and went to the rocky beach. The greeny-blue water against the charcoal grey rocks was beautiful and we thought we could see snow on the distant hills, which made me upset that I had forgotten to bring the camera.
Kaikoura is famous for its crayfish, so we decided that we had to try some for dinner. The shop down the road that sold cooked crays takeaway was closed so we decided to go back to the restaurant at our Motor Inn, in a building with a large metal, wire and fibreglass crayfish/lobster attached to the front.
My plain steamed crayfish was much better than The Man's mornay, but we all enjoyed our meal and The Boy and I shared an Ice Cream Sundae for dessert.
And we didn't even have far to go to get "home" for the night!
Sunday 27th December
Kaikoura - Nelson
Disaster struck this morning. The Boy's Christmas present from Daddy and me was a DSi and games, to help occupy him in the car. He went to turn it on soon after we got up and it wouldn't turn on. We plugged it in to try and charge it again and all we got was a forlorn little orange light blinking at us. It wouldn't charge, either from the mains power or the car charger. The Man got online and found some forum posts suggesting it was an issue with the battery. We hoped there would be somewhere in Nelson that would be able to help.
We started the day by going back to the beach to get the photos we'd missed yesterday. Unfortunately there was a lot of haze so the colours weren't as beautiful as they had been the day before, but The Boy had lots of fun throwing the large, smooth rocks into the surf.
We drove north along the coast until the road took us inland towards Blenheim. We passed the airfield with the warbirds museum, noting that my Dad, a warbirds fanatic, would be distressed by the thought of anyone passing by without stopping!
We approached Blenheim around lunchtime. This certainly is wine country - vineyards almost as far as the eye could see, with stunning hillsides behind.
Eureka! There was a Dick Smith in Blenheim. Surely our DSi problems would all be sorted out. But no. They do not sell batteries for the DSi. We had lunch at the local Brumbies and got on our way again.
The road from Blenheim to Nelson wound up through large hills covered in pine plantations. At times it was narrow and tight and curvy and the driving must have been arduous for The Man. It was very beautiful, though.
In Nelson, we found our motel, The Carmel Court, then drove to Richmond in search of yarn shops. We found Cruella's, the home of Rare Yarns, and I bought some alpaca yarn that was marked down and some Misty in Jade to make a Victoria's Vest (well, at least I thought that was what I was buying. They agreed to post it for me so I didn't have to carry it, and when it turned up on Wednesday they'd sent Brushed in Jade instead. Oh well. They're close enough that I'm not going to make a fuss and try and send it back!) The boys fed the sheep that was out the back.
Hamburgers for dinner, then off to bed!