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29th December
written by Hazel

Christmas Eve at the Octagon

We’ve had a pretty busy time of it, and as always my internet time is running out, but I’ll hit the highlights.  We had a wonderful Christmas in Christchurch with a delicious dinner out on Christmas Eve at a restaurant with live music and then went to the late night Christmas service at the Cathedral.

Christmas Eve at Christchurch Cathedral

Christmas Day we went for a punt ride (they don’t let you punt your own because the current is very fast) and got to see the city from the Avon, which runs right through the middle.  Really nice!  Then we had BBQ lamb.  In New Zealand many people do BBQ for Christmas dinner because it’s so nice outside.

The next day we set off for the Banks Peninsula and had an incredibly gorgeous drive.  The weather was perfect and the views were amazing.

Birds are everywhere!

Banks Peninsula Views

Unfortunately, the next day the weather took a turn for the worse and it started absolutely pouring.  The views were still good when we could see them, but the clouds were so low that there wasn’t much to see.  We tried to make the most of any breaks in the rain, but didn’t feel like we saw the best of Lake Tekapo.

Very BLUE Lake Tekapo in the rain

Horse in wildflowers


The next day it was still pouring, but we decided to head up to Mt. Cook with the hope that the weather forecast was accurate and the rain would break.  It wasn’t promising.


We did a hike, and got sopping wet, attempted another and had to turn back because of flooding.  All of the trails were underwater and so was most of the campground.  We hunkered down with books, and I didn’t even realize that the weather was changing.  Luckily, Justin was on the watch and we quickly did a repeat of the first walk we had tried.  You can see the difference above and below!

Same view 4 hours later!

Mt. Cook is FABULOUS.  The campground was really good, the mountain is so, so beautiful and we had a really good hike this morning (if somewhat crowded – one of the busiest places we’ve been in New Zealand).

Mt. Cook

This afternoon we headed back to Lake Tekapo and are enjoying the continuing sun.  At midnight tonight we’re going on an observatory tour where we will get to use university telescopes and find out about the Southern Hemisphere sky – so we’re extra happy that the skies are clear!

So beautiful now the sun is out!


  1. 29/12/2010

    It looks absolutely spectacular! Glad you are continuing to have such a wonderful trip. Love Mumsies.

  2. Nigel Ball

    Black Swans – actually a black swan lake

  3. Bob D

    Best pictures yet!
    What are the people like by the way? Perhaps you could take a few pics of the natives?

  4. Aunt Kathy

    I love the scenery pictures.It all looks so pristine. Keep shooting those pictures. So far you have painted an amazing picture of that country. – Love Aunt Kathy

  5. Hazel

    It’s so beautiful here that it’s very easy to take pretty pictures. The hard part is choosing which ones to post! Hope you’re doing well!

  6. Hazel

    Did you notice the cool guy in the middle stretching his wings?

  7. Hazel

    I love requests! I’ll get right on it :)

  8. David M

    I was gonna make fun of you guys for dining at Burger King on Christmas Eve, but on closer inspection, it looks like a really *fancy* Burger King, so I guess it’s excusable.

  9. Hazel

    We had real Christmas crackers that gave us those hats :) No Kings involved!

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