Our first stop on the South Island was Nelson. We decided to visit Nelson because we had heard that it was a good area to look at crafts. We stayed at a beautiful B&B called Long Lookout Gardens. It was MAGNIFICENT! Not only that, our hosts were terrific.
We had rented a car at the airport so we were mobile. And off we went. Our first stop was the World of Wearable Art. We saw a wonderful exhibit of garments made from all sorts of objects. One was made out of metal coat hangers. I have no pictures of my own, however, I borrowed one from the WOW site.
View of the B&B gardens and Nelson from our room.
We wandered around the countryside surrounding Nelson looking for craftsmen that we could visit. We went to the Hoglund Art Glass studio and saw a demonstration of glass blowing. They had some very nice pieces but nothing that struck our fancy.
Another stop was a ceramics studio. We saw a number of nice pieces but again we acquired nothing. They were too heavy to carry and too expensive to ship. Here are four of the pieces that we saw.
From Nelson, we flew to Christchurch. Rented a car and drove to our B&B - Weston House. We had a reservation for dinner at one of the best restaurants in the city - Pescatore. As it happened, it was just across the street from our B&B.
All throught the trip, we were celebrating my 70th birthday and we didn't keep it a secret. So many of the places had special deserts made for us. Here is what we had at Pescatore.
Our second night in Christchurch we had another dinner reservation. This time it was at a small, French restaurant in the town of Akaroa. We decided to drive to Akaroa for the day as we had heard it was a nice place to visit. IT WAS!.
On the way we passed one of the most common sights in New Zealand - a pasture of sheep. There are MANY more sheep in New Zealand than there are people.
Akaroa is a small fishing village on the coast. It is very quaint and the day we were there it was VERY VERY COLD!!! This was November and it was supposed to be Spring. Nobody told the weatherman and there was a bitter cold wind coming directly from the Antarctic.
We still had a nice time and enjoyed the gorgeous flowers.
Overlooking the Akaroa harbor -->
Our last day in the Christchurch area really wasn't in Christchurch. We went on an "Alpine Safari".
The trip started with a bus ride to the Waimakariri River where we had a jetboat ride. The ride took us up the river by some rapids and through a portion of the river valley. Of course the highlight of the jetboat ride were the sharp 360 turns at high speed.
Here I am bundled up and ready for the jetboat ride. It was cold that day but not as cold as the day in Akaroa.
We returned from the jetboat ride and found our next mode of transportation - the Unimog. This is a STRANGE vehicle. It's specially built to take us where no man has gone before. Here's the proof that we were there!
The last picture is the Unimog as it traverses a hill that is part of a sheep farm. There wasn't a road just open grazing area.
At the end of our Unimog trip we were at Arthur's Pass. Here we caught the TranzAlpine train back to Christchurch.
While waiting for the train, we saw a kea bird on the tracks. The kea is a type of parrot. It's known for eating the rubber around the windshield of a car or pulling off the windshield wipers.
It was fun riding the train back along the river where we had jetboated.