Sunday, February 28, 2010


Fairlie is a thriving farming town at the junction of Mid Canterbury and South Canterbury Coasts as well as the Inland Route to Lake Tekapo, Wanaka and Queenstown. Fairlie is a half hours drive from Lake Tekapo.
(Mackenzie and his dog Friday)

Warburton House

When we arrived at the Warburton House it was around 5.30pm and once again we were very exhausted! Robyn and Guy had been following my blog and knew that our itinerary was action packed so they allowed us to just sit back and relax. It was the first day since I’ve been here that I was able to sleep in past 8.30am and still be in my PJ’s at 10.30! Sleep can be so rejuvenating when you are really deprived of it!

The Warburton House offers a relaxing stay in Robyn and Guy’s home with warm fires and cozy lounging. Guy is a keen Motorcycle enthusiast so the establishment is rider and cyclist friendly with a lock-up garage and workshop available. They even have a motorcycle helmet as the letterbox, which is pretty cool!

The 3acre groomed garden is very impressive with old school chairs and a hammock to laze on by an idyllic pond. It is their own secret garden that they have generously opened to their guests.

The 7-bedroom house can comfortably sleep up to 13 people. I had the pleasure of sleeping in the country room. It was very beautifully decorated in hues of lavender and sunflower yellow. The bed is very comfortable as well.

Prices start from $75/night for a single room, which includes a cooked, or continental breakfast and complimentary tea, coffee and cookies on arrival. For an extra $35 Robyn can prepare your evening meal, which includes a complimentary glass of wine or beer.

For more information visit their website at:

Old Library Café

George is the owner and head chef of the Old Library Café and as the name implies it was originally a Carnegie Library, built in 1914. The Old Library still retains features from its former days, including the ornate tin pressed ceiling, and shelves that once stored books.

The restaurant has gained national and international Award Winning Cuisine and is particularly known for its rack of lamb, and steak meals. I can personally comment on the steak as being one of the best steaks I have ever had. I prefer my steak well done and it is very rare to find a chef that can do this whilst still keeping the meat tender. George did a superb job. Cat ordered the rack of lamb and found that hers was just as delicious.

When we first sat down at our table the waitress brought out a tray of breads and dips compliments of the chef. The bread was freshly baked and the dips were scrumptious.

After my meal I enjoyed a passion fruit cheesecake that was sweet and gorgeous. I walked away feeling extremely full and satisfied.


Peel Forest Park is a remnant of a magnificent forest which once covered an area of 3500 hectares in mid-Canterbury. Now only 700 hectares remain, but what is left of the forest is rich, diverse and very beautiful! The forest is right near Geraldine and only 1.5 hours drive from Christchurch.

Peel Forest Lodge

I have decided to allow the people accommodating us in each town to draw the dot on our map for their town. This will be the beginning photo for each town's blog from now on :)

Access to the lodge is through a profound forest of trees, which was a huge contrast to our bright pink, purple and blue wicked van. When we first arrived at Peel Forest Lodge, I had my first real country experience. Bert greeted us with his hands covered in deer blood (yes deer blood) and asked me if I like meat. I was reluctant to answer yes and before I knew it I was in his shed watching him butcher a deer. It doesn’t get more country or organic than that.

The fully self-contained lodge can comfortably accommodate up to 9 people and is equipped with a spacious kitchen ideal for hosting large groups. The log cabin was built to the family’s design 16 years ago using locally grown logs and is now a 4 star holiday lodge. The peaceful secluded location blends in complete harmony with the natural timbers of the lodge- unlike our conspicuous van!

The luxurious lodge is very private with a grand backdrop of Mount Peel and the Southern Alps behind. The tranquil private setting of the lodge provided an ideal escape to work on my blog. Pennie, Bert and their daughter Millie live in a separate house down from the Lodge so apart from another couple we had the lodge to ourselves.

We dined out for dinner at Peel Forest bar, store and restaurant (the only shop in town) however meals can be provided. In the morning we enjoyed a continental breakfast prepared by Pennie, which included fruit, cereal, yogurt and bagels.

After breakfast Bert took us on a 2hour River and Forest Trek. This is definitely not your ordinary follow the leader type horse trek. My horse’s name was Spirit and she was such a beautiful horse. After we were briefed on riding skills and fitted with a helmet we were off on our adventure.

The first part of our trek was a very steep gravel hill and then straight into the lush forest. Before our trek I told Bert that I wanted to trot at some point on our journey. Initially I had no idea how to hold onto the reigns, steer Spirit, stop if necessary and hold onto the saddle all at the same time. I honestly nearly bounced right out of my saddle as she was flying through the forest. I would love to have seen my face because I was petrified! Thankfully Spirit did stop when she reached Bert’s horse. Bert provided a quick demonstration on how to hold the reigns (so I could steer and stop her) as well as hold onto the saddle and then we were trotting again.

The bush trail led us along the Rangitata River and what started off as quite shallow quickly turned into very deep water. Before I knew it I was up to my waist in water and my horse, Spirit was actually swimming! (I told you it wasn’t your average horse trek). We reached dry land all safe and sound, and just a little bit wet. Honestly the best horse trek I have ever been on!

Horse trek costs $55 for one hour and accommodation prices start at $350. For more information please visit their website at

Saturday, February 27, 2010



We were actually meant to go on our Balloon Safari while we were staying in Methven as this is where the company is based however due to the wind it was postponed. It wasn’t until 10:30am that George, our experienced pilot, found a suitable launch site, which is unusually late for hot air ballooning. However it was a very clear, calm and coo day, which is perfect conditions for hot air ballooning.

Hot Air Ballooning is probably the only air adventure that can give you a tranquil and majestic flight. It begins with the inflation of the balloon, which requires all 20 hands of the 10 people participating in the safari as the balloon is massive! I never knew how big the actual balloon is in comparison to the tiny basket that carries us.

Once aboard the bamboo basket our magical flight started to unfold. The launch was so gentle that I hardly realized I had left the ground. That is of course until the cows on the neighboring farm started to look like tiny toy cows.

I was so surprised by the peace and gentleness of ballooning. It is a bizarre feeling as your scenery is slowly changing however you feel as though you are stationary. I met some interesting people from the US, Switzerland, Germany and China as we drifted along with the breeze and absorbed the stunning views of Mt Hutt and surrounding Southern Alps.

After what felt like 10minutes but was actually approximately one hour, it was time to land. We celebrated the successful completion of the flight with a champagne picnic breakfast in the field where we landed. Our champagne breakfast was served by a suitably attired waiter who just happened to look identical to our pilot George. When I told George he looked very smart in his black tie suit, he politely told me that I must have mistaken him for someone else. When it was time to board the bus, our waiter friend disappeared just as George reappeared- fascinating! It was a great ending to a magical day.


We didn’t get very long in Lake Coleridge at all because we arrived at Lake Coleridge Lodge at around 9pm and had to leave very early in the morning for our balloon flight. It would have been nice to spend a little bit more time here to explore the good old-fashioned kiwi bush paths. Created by glacier moraine, Lake Coleridge is 170meters higher than the Rakaia River. The power station situated right below Lake Coleridge Lodge was originally built to supply electricity to the growing city of Christchurch.

Lake Coleridge Lodge

Lake Coleridge Lodge is undoubtedly one of New Zealand’s best-kept secrets. Family owned and managed, Dorita and Gareth have provide affordable and good-quality accommodation. Nestled in the heart of New Zealand’s magnificent Southern Alps, Lake Coleridge Lodge is surrounded by some of the World’s most breath-taking scenery, most recently made familiar in such films as ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘Narnia’.

Terrace Downs Golf Resort and Full On were so generous in their sponsorship for the Entirely World Famous New Zealand Tour, which meant that we did not arrive at Lake Coleridge Lodge until after 9 that night. We were unaware that the Lodge not only provides breakfast with the room rate but also dinner. So when we did arrive (feeling very exhausted) I felt awful that Dorita had cooked us a chicken risotto as she thought we would arrive a lot earlier than we did. However they were very understanding and invited us into their home as they put a pot of tea on. We sat in the comfortable communal loungeroom listening to stories of how the power station came about and the different activities/walkways to participate in during our stay at the Lodge. Even though we missed dinner we still go to try some of Doritas home cooked biscuits with our tea and they were very yummy!

(communal lounge room)

The location of the Lodge is on the brink of some of the South Island’s finest ski-fields and magnificent alpine lakes with unrivalled world class Salmon and Trout fishing.

Dorita and Gareth really made us feel welcome and at home or as Gareth cleverly stated it ‘away at home’. We met 2 of they’re three children as they were preparing themselves for school and had a lovely continental breakfast with the family.

(the breakfast room)

$95 per person comes with a standard room, 2-course family style dinner, continental breakfast, freshly baked afternoon tea, as well as tea and coffee throughout the day. There is a choice of 2 accommodation styles including the lodge or a cabin. The main Lodge can accommodate up to 14 people in its 7 bedrooms with a configuration of double or twin rooms. All rooms are well equipped and have quality furnishings, which made our stay comfortable. Fully equipped with a bathroom, kitchen and TV the Cabin can sleep up to 4 people and is usually suited to families or two couples.

For more information on Lake Coleridge Lodge please visit their website:

Friday, February 26, 2010


Inflatable Kayaking Adventure With Full On and Discovery Jets

Today was definitely my favourite day! It was our second day with Full On and as the name suggests was just as ‘full on’ as day one. We drove from Methven to Rakaia Gorge Bridge where we met Joel our guide for the day. Rakaia Gorge is located on the Rakaia River in inland Canterbury in New Zealand’s South Island- it took around half an hour to drive from Methven.

First off we changed into something a little more appropriate, including:
- Thick long-sleeve shirt (otherwise known as a polypropylene)
- Wetsuit
- Booties
- Wind proof jacket
- Life jacket
- Helmet

And I thought the wetsuits we wore swimming with the dolphins were bad! However it was very necessary because the water is freezing and there is a 99.9% chance that you will capsize.

It was so awesome because our ride to the starting point of our kayaking adventure was on a Discovery Jet! I held on with excitement as the jet boat zoomed up the river (which isn’t very deep at all) doing 360 degree turns and going within inches of the rock walls. There were two other people on our boat and I don’t think the lady opened her eyes the whole time!

As I absorbed the dramatic and ever changing scenery it was obvious that our driver knew the Rakaia River like the back of his hand. He skillfully weaved the jet boat through the braided river channels and skimmed along the stony banks.

Once we reached our destination we grabbed all the equipment for kayaking and set off on our adventure with Cat and Joel in one kayak and me in another. The scenery is just spectacular as you journey between the towering cliffs with the Southern Alps set in the background. It really is magical.

But enough about the scenery because here comes the white water rapids! It was so hard to dodge the rock cliffs, exposed rocks and the other kayak but boy was it fun!

After Cat and I jumped out of our kayaks to float on our backs down the river, Cat and I ended up in the same kayak. Before we had a chance to get our paddling in sync our boat caught hold of some rapids and off we went again. Screaming with excitement we tried very hard to miss the rock wall but this was all but impossible as we braced ourselves for the collision. In the background we heard joel saying lean into the wall but of course instinct took over as we both leaned the other way. Before I could blink an eye our boat was upside down and I was fighting my way to the surface- apparently the look on my face when I first appeared was priceless! But we survived.

(After our capsize)

We turned our boat upright and climbed back in, which isn’t very easy at all as you are still floating with the rapid current. As the shock wore off I replayed the image of us capsizing in my head and started laughing hysterically! I couldn’t stop laughing, every time I would remember the scenario Id start to giggle again!

Just before the adventure was about to end Joel took us rock jumping. We anchored our kayaks into a secluded bay and climbed up onto a massive rock. We ran and leaped out into the air and landed in the icy cold water- see this is why you need all the warm gear. Joel was waiting with the kayaks only a few meters away so we climbed back in and then the adventure was over ☹

Visit Full On’s website for information on other activities in the region:

Terrace Downs Golf Resort

After our action packed morning on the Rakaia River we headed up the mountain to Terrace Downs Golf Resort for what we thought was just going to be lunch. So I was very surprised to hear that our afternoon itinerary consisted of archery and clay pigeon shooting followed by a trip to the spa. Talk about indulgence!

Terrace Downs Resort offers in-house and casual visitors a unique one-stop New Zealand getaway destination. It is located just twenty minutes from the Mt Hutt access road and within an easy hour's scenic drive of Christchurch International Airport. As we drove through the stone gates leading into Terrace Downs it was very apparent how luxurious this resort is. The first word that came out of my mouth was WOW. I never imagined a place like this could actually exist. My first thought was it must be extremely expensive to stay here. However I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered that they have packages that start at $249 a night for a one-bedroom villa. For some, this may seem like a lot of money but Terrace Downs is a place of indulgence and it is utterly worth every cent.

At lunch we were completely spoiled. Again prices for the lunch menu are not what I expected. There was a range of meals for under $20- I ordered the steak and salad, which was delicious. There are three on-site restaurants ranging from fine dining to a more relaxed setting.

The wait-staff were very friendly, checking if our meals were up to standard and if we were right for drinks. As I sipped on my glass of wine and nibbled on my sumptuous steak, I stared out across the golf course and took in the stunning view of Mt Hutt. The location is just magnificent!

After our main meal we had a browse through the desert menu and it was just too tempting to pass up. I was miss piggy and ate a massive slice of chocolate mud cake all on my own. I savored every single bite ☺

Next on the agenda was archery and clay pigeon shooting with Chris. As we walked down to the shooting range, we listened to Chris as he told us the history of Terrace Downs. I’ve never held a real gun before so it was such a shock to feel how heavy it is. It really takes a lot of upper strength to hold the gun for a long time. Chris demonstrated how to use the gun and then I was first up. When I fired my first shot I nearly ricocheted to the ground. After a while I got into the swing of things and I was able to hit 2 of the clay pigeons. Mind you this was out of 25 chances so I didn’t do so well!

However I was even worse at archery! I didn’t have the steady hand or eye to keep the arrow straight. Cat was awesome at archery- I think it must be her long lost calling!

The outdoor activities kept us busy until around 4pm and then we headed for the spaaaaaaahhhhh (its not as effective unless you round out the ah). Before my treatment I was able to laze on the couch with my herbal refreshments in their relaxation room. The unique balance of incense, background music and dim lighting makes up a very relaxing ambience.

I experienced their Signature Jasmine Treatment. The 2.5 hr treatment consists of the Jasmine Body Exfoliation, Jasmine Aromatic Massage and Water Lily Purifying Facial. All up it costs $270 but OMG it is amazing. I was floating on cloud nine once therapists were finished with me.

Terrace Downs were kind enough to give us a key to one of their two bedroom villas just for the afternoon. So after the spa we went back to the room, where I was able to do some work on my blog.

Catering to all guests the resort features deluxe one-to-four bedroom accommodation. Terrace Downs offers a choice of two deluxe accommodation options. Terrace Villa Suites are self-contained units with luxurious beds, a delightful raised spa bath and spacious open-plan living areas. The Villas range from one to three bedroom suites. The Fairway Chalets are separate architecturally designed three to four bedroom houses. They are spread out amongst the front nine holes of the golf course and boast all modern conveniences. The Chalets provide great indoor-outdoor living areas with stunning views over the golf course to Mt Hutt.

If you are a keen golfer Terrace Downs offers a par 72, 18-hole championship golf course, rated as one of the top courses and golfing destinations in New Zealand.

For more information about Terrace Downs visit their website at: