We finished work on Friday 20th December, we were meant to work the Saturday but our aching bones decided not to and then it rained the whole of Saturday anyway so it must have been fate. Some friends we had been working with had headed to Oamaru the day before and we went to join them on Sunday. The weather was really nice so we went for a swim on the beach as our campsite was right on the water. We had a BBQ in the evening which was really nice but Jeff was a bit cold after his swim in the sea which became obvious when his lips started to turn blue. We started to make a bonfire on the beach but it started to rain and that was the end of that idea. The next day our friends were heading towards Christchurch for Christmas and we were heading to Moeraki so after a quick visit to a cheesery (where San was very happy to have a cheese platter) and a factory sweet shop we went our separate ways.
We got to Moeraki and the campsite was a lot busier than the last time we were here which wasn't surprising since it was Christmas and summer/school holidays. We got a good spot and unpacked our stuff. When we had decided to come to Moeraki we had thought of a great Christmas on the beach taking our Christmas dinner down to the beach, that plan was soon out the window when it did nothing but rain the whole time we were there. We still had a great time. We walked up the beach towards to Moeraki boulders which were a bit of a challenge at some times when the water flowing into the sea got up to knee deep and we had to walk through it. We caught up on our Christmas films, enjoyed some delicious Central Otago wines, ate lots of food and had a few paddles in the sea.
The day we left Moeraki was the first dry day we had. We had a 3 hour drive to Wanaka, we stopped in Cromwell for a smoothie and the sun was shining all day. We set up camp and enjoyed a dip in the spa pool. We hired some bikes from the campsite and went for a cycle on New Year's Eve, it was a beautiful sunny morning and the scenery was breath taking. We cycled for about 3 hours and San managed a very narrow, hilly and busy mountain bike trail in flip flops but once we got to the town she mis-judged the kerb and fell off her bike and grazed her elbow and leg. After some TLC she got back up and cycled back to the campsite. Our friends arrived in the afternoon and we enjoyed some beers and food in the sun. We walked into town and had some drinks on the beach. There was a band playing and parts of the town had alcohol bans. We ended up having some drinks in a bar as the wind was quite chilly. The pub didn't organise a countdown so we had to keep an eye on the time ourselves. We met some more of our friends in town and watched some spectacular fireworks at midnight after a dance to Auld Lang Syne.
The next day we went to Cinema Paradiso and saw Anchorman 2. The cinema is a very popular tourist attraction in Wanaka and bakes fresh cookies and pizza for the interval. We had some delicious homemade ice-cream and popcorn and watched the film sat in a convertible car. We ended the night with a fantastic BBQ, consisting of aubergine with rosemary, chilli and pepper, steak, sausages, salad and homemade potato salad with Pavlova and fresh strawberries for dessert.
The following day we woke up to yet another rainy day and played some disc golf which was a great success and Jeff did very well and beat everybody. We're back to work on the 6th of January but only to top up our bank account after what has been a very expensive Christmas and new year then we will travel south and start exploring again.