Published: February 4th 2011December 26th 2010
We were with Simon’s mum, Gay, for the next 2 days and spent a lot of the time chilling out. On Boxing Day we met up with Gillie and Simon’s friend, and stopped at a restaurant near Sumner beach and had yummy giant pizzas, Anna then went home and the four of us walked down to the beach and spent a couple of hours at there. It wasn’t as hot as sunny as it had been the previous day but there were lots of people out and once again, Ellory and Gillie were taking lots of arty photographs. It was a nice way to spend the afternoon and was certainly different from my normal Boxing Day tradition of eating leftovers and watching Christmas TV. We also picked up our hire car for the next week, Gillie and Simon had very kindly invited us to join them in the car to drive to Queenstown via Simon’s Dad’s house in Alexandra and we jumped on the idea of spending as much time as we could with them in the short period we had.
So the next day we all packed up our things and loaded up the
car, this was hilarious as Ellory and I were carrying around a significant amount of stuff by this point. Gillie and Simon had all their stuff and with car snacks as well, it was a very tightly packed car! We crammed it all in somehow and said goodbye to Gay who had been an absolute superstar letting us all stay and hit the road.
It is a pretty long drive to Alexandra and Simon took us by the scenic route so we could all see some of the beautiful surroundings. This part of New Zealand was used for the ‘Riders of Rohan’ scenes in Lord of the Rings and me, Gillie and Ellory got all excited every time we spotted a familiar bit! This drive took us about 8 hours including stops, (we stopped for a Skype call in a coffee shop so Gillie could speak to her family in Canada and we took the opportunity to speak to Ellory’s mum) so it was pretty late by the time we reached Simon’s dad’s house in Alexandra. This house was amazing, unlike England, it is pretty common in New Zealand to buy a plot of land and build the house
you want on it and Simon’s dad had created a beautiful home with gorgeous views over the hills and lots of huge windows. Everyone was there for a big family meal and they were all very welcoming to the 2 randoms! We had a massive BBQ for dinner and some wine and chatted away to everyone, It was a good evening, Simon’s brother, Nathan was staying as well and we all stayed on a collection of blow up mattresses and sofa beds in the huge living room.
The next day was pretty cold and rainy, Simon and Nathan wanted to go to see their grandmother and take Gillie with them, while we were invited, Ellory and I decided not to join as we thought it was about time Simon had some time with his family without random hangers on! They very kindly dropped us in town and Ellory and I spent a few hours at a coffee shop doing some internet things, including booking a hire car from New Years Eve until the 9th January, which is when we planned to leave New Zealand. There was just enough time for a quick drink at the pub before they came
back to pick us up. As the weather was so terrible we didn’t do an awful lot else that day and just had a bit of a relax really!!!
The next day was much better, beautifully hot and sunny and Simon decided to drive us to the reservoirs so we could have a bit of a picnic and relax in the sunshine. We stopped at the supermarket to buy picnic food and cider, and off we went. We stopped at 2 reservoirs that day and I stupidly did not write the names down but at the first one we chilled out by the water and had some food. Both Gillie and Simon went into the water for a swim, but Ellory and I had decided it was waaay too cold, we were both quite happy to sunbathe thank you very much! Before heading off to the next reservoir the 5 of us (Nathan was with us) went for a walk on top of the dam which was nearby which was pretty cool. Simon then drove us to the next one and we had a great couple of hours sunbathing, having some drinks and playing catch. Well, Gillie, Simon and
Nathan played, Ellory and I watched and took photographs (lazy, us?). It was a really lovely chilled day and was nice to do a ‘normal’ NZ thing instead of going to see all the touristy stuff.
Love Liz xxx
There are more photos below