Castle Hill

The next New Zealand adventure was a trip out to Castle Hill. It was about an hour and a half drive to Castle Hill from Christchurch. It was amazing how different the landscapes were, we went from farmland with lots of sheep to more of desert mountains, which reminded me a lot of the landscapes around Kamloops. Apparently the limestone formations are around 30 million years ago, when New Zealand was still underwater! It was a bit strange because they were really the only rocks around anywhere in the area.

Photo by Murray Erickson

Photo by Murray Erickson

We lucked out with a really gorgeous sunny day, just a bit chilly, only 4 degrees up there! I am getting a bit tired of the cold weather, I want sunshine and tanning weather. There were quite a few people around but there is so much area to walk around that once we were up in the rocks it really didn’t seem busy at all. The formations are really cool and it kind of feels like running around a natural playground. Every area had a different vibe and there were so many gorgeous views we couldn’t get enough of it!

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We spent about two hours wandering around, hiking and enjoying a beer taking in the views. This place isn’t just popular in New Zealand, Castle Hill was a filming site for both Lord of the Rings and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe! Plus another fun fact, in 2002 the Dalai Lama named it the ‘Spiritual Centre of the Universe”. I’m not too sure what that really means but interesting none the less.

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I’ve really been enjoying all the gorgeous nature and the different activities that there is to do here. I can definetly see how New Zealand is an amazing place and why so many people love it here. I think you would be hard pressed to run out of things to do here, as long as you’re open for some adventure!

Photo by Murray Erickson

Photo by Murray Erickson

Photo by Murray Erickson

Photo by Murray Erickson

Photo by Murray Erickson

Photo by Murray Erickson

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Kiwi Land!

I arrived in Christchurch, New Zealand at midnight on Saturday night and it was so nice to have someone pick me up at the airport. I think probably one of the most awkward things is walking through the airport doors, no matter where you are, and there is like a million people standing there watching you while they wait for their loved ones. I don’t know if everyone feels like that but for me I think it’s totally uncomfortable! But this time I had someone waiting which was awwwwwesome!

Sunday morning Murray suggested we go for a hike, it was a beautiful day so I was totally up for it. I was told it was going to be an easy hike but it was a little bit harder than I was expecting, especially after a bit of a lazy couple weeks. That said the views were amazing and the sun stayed out the whole time. It was probably the craziest wind ever though, which added to the difficultness of the hike. When we finally finished I felt great, best part of the hike!

View of the surfers while on our hike!

View of the surfers while on our hike!

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Tuesday afternoon Kara got to New Zealand from a trip back to Canada and I surprised her at the airport which was so fun! It’s been great to catch up with her and help with her and Murray’s wedding plans for next summer.

Murray and Kara wanted to show me some of the wineries around the area and that was an activity I could totally get stoked for. Murray nicely volunteered to be our designated driver so Kara and I were free to taste away!

The first place we stopped was Waipara Hills Winery. The building was gorgeous and we actually got to taste a ton of wine. The guy doing our tasting was a little bit…intense. He was totally quizzing us about the wine and every time we described something he’d have some response about it. Little bit much for our first winery of the day, but the wine was good and we ended up buying a bottle there.

First winery of the day!

First winery of the day!

At the third winery, Waipara Springs, we decided to grab lunch with our tasting which was fantastic. We got a big vegetarian share plate that was perfect to snack on while we drank our wine and chatted.  The wine was good there but we didn’t end up getting any, I think we were too full from all the food and they were also pretty generous with the wine pours so we left there pretty happy.

How good does this platter look?

How good does this platter look?

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I’m not sure which wine I preferred, the Barossa tour or the New Zealand wines. They were quite different and I have noticed that the wine from New Zealand is fairly sweet, which generally isn’t my favourite to drink.

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After our wine touring we had thought about going out for the night but my the time we got back the buzz had worn off and we were both pretty pooped so we just made dinner and had a low key night.

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