Monday, April 20, 2009

Wine, Thermals, Cook and Cow

On Sunday afternoon I joined a little mini bus load of BookCrossers for a winery tour of north Canterbury, about 45 minutes outside of Christchurch. Again, a collection of accents, new and old friends on the bus, including Lil, who I met in Japan on my way over to the UK.

Our first stop was The Mud House, overseeing the sweeping mountains behind the views of the vines, we tasted the full selection of whites and reds. Down the road was the second stop, Waipara
where we were served yummy food platters as the tastings were brought out to the table to us. And the third was Torlesse Winery, a little boutique winery, where we were taught bits and pieces of wine knowledge as we sampled.

With the end of the Convention, Mum and I then headed for a full meal at Dux de Lux, before we called it a night on our stay in Christchurch.

This morning we arranged our shuttle out to our not-so-central hire car pick up, to start our roadtrip down the centre of the South Island. Driving down two hours ot Geraldine, we stopped for lunch and a driver swap, before driving down further through green, green plains, with the brilliant orange and yellows of Autumn, to Lake Tekapo.

Looking over the aqua blue lake, with a backdrop of mountain ranges, we found the thermal pools of Alpine Springs. Taking a dip in the hot 40C heated pool, with the cold, crisp air all around you, and the trees to one side, and the mountain range and Lake in front of you, was heaven!

Back in our little car eventually, we were watching the mountains around us, highly anticipating Mount Cook. Wrongly calling it several times, as we approached another lake and a heavily cloud shrouded area, we just knew it would be under all that fluffy stuff! Sure enough, after stopping at the Information point, the gruff lady in there informed us that the mountain we were hoping, with it's trace of snow at the top before disappearing under clouds, was not Mount Cook. We could just see the very bottom of Mount Cook, over the far corner of the Lake.

Another couple of hours driving through the mountain ranges, we have arrived in Queenstown. So far, it's a little tourist town around a lake, with a mysterious lit point above us....we have the feeling we'll be surprised by our surroundings in the morning! Dinner tonight was at The Cow, right in town for pizza and pasts, before studying up our stay here for the next couple of days.

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