We spent a lot of time at or near home over the Christmas/New Years break. This was mostly due to uncertainty created by the ongoing Covid-19 situation and staying home just seemed easiest. We had a short 4 night trip to Timaru to see my family but otherwise we’ve been staying in the Greater Wellington area and making the most of what has been some wonderful weather.
Leading up to Christmas Day we took part in the Elf on a Shelf tradition with elf Peppermint joining the family for December. Mostly Peppermint was well behaved, certainly compared to some other elves activities spied on social media. Peppermint will have to up her game if she comes back next Christmas! We had a low-key lunch at home with friends on Christmas Day. Prior to that the traditional making of the gingerbread house became the making of a smaller gingerbread village. We were still eating gingerbread for a week or so after Christmas.
For the trip down south I took the ferry and drove while Keryn and Alayna flew down to Christchurch. Other than an early start my journey was stress free, smooth sailing followed by an easy drive. It was nice to find almost nothing in the way of road works from Picton all the way to Timaru! I had nice stops in and around Kaikoura and popped out to New Brighton and the nearby Travis Wetland. The flight arrived on time and we made good time to arrive at my brother’s place in Timaru.
Over the next few days we spend time with family and took a daytrip loop to Omarama. We took the backroads around Lake Aviemore and discovered where watersports loving Cantabrians spend their holidays (so many bustling campsites) and wandered around near Benmore Dam. After some navigation issues be found our way to the Paritea Clay Cliffs and took a short, if hot, walk up to the accessible ravine. From there it was lunch in Twizel and a stop at the information centre on the shore of Lake Pukaki before driving back to Timaru.
We stayed in Christchurch for one night at the Jucy Snooze Christchurch as I needed to leave early to make my rescheduled ferry, and it allowed Keryn and Alayna an easy walk to the airport to catch their flight home. The drive north was again without incident, and I got to take a break for 20 minutes before Kaikoura and watch dolphin pods slowly swimming along a bay, the youngsters jumping and splashing around.
Back home we’ve spent time at Zealandia, had fish and chips at the beach in Plimmerton, been camping with friends for a couple of night out at Catchpool Valley (trying out our new tent) and then spent another two nights camping up the coast at Paekakariki (the new tent is great!). There had been a great run of weather and we’ve made the most of it so far. The rest of January will likely revolve around work and more mundane household tasks like painting and gardening, hopefully we can still fit in a few more beach visits and days out in the sun.