|(We had some snowy driving at points but it afforded us some new ways|
of seeing New Zealand! It was fun to see the sheep in snow and was quite
a pretty sight. This country is even more beautiful in the snow)
I was hoping to plan a hike short enough for us to do in two days time while also intriguing enough to lure us out into the increasingly colder Winter months of the southern hemisphere. The walks we have been wanting to do, however, were longer then we had time, and perhaps more motivating, a few days ago we had some ice pilled up on the ground! So we looked to the plans and decided to head off to an area nearby we had yet to investigate.
|(Pausing next to the original bridge leading into Alexandra)|
Alexandra offered us a wonderful experience. We went to a quaint but impressive museum, took a historical tour of town to see the sites (such as the original bridge pictured with Sarah and the courthouse where I am posing), rang up three wineries who were willing to let us come and taste their creations even though they are now
|(An old court house turned into a nice little cafe - I like my coffee with|
a little dash of justice please. Mmmmm. Tasty.)
|(It was difficult to get a great shot of the entire property but this really is|
a great piece of quiet land right on the river running past Clyde)
Sarah knew I had been planning out an adventure somewhere on the trails, so when I told her we were instead going to head off into some of the unvisited wine country of Central Otago I left out the small detail of where we were staying. With our seventh anniversary looming just off in the distance by a week I figured it would be a good time to stay somewhere a little nicer for a change. So we stayed at the Hartley Homestead (pictured here) and had good ole time in the hospitality of Rex and Melanie who have taken this cute property and turned it into a bed and breakfast. Clyde is a small town just up the road from Alexandra and felt like the perfect place to spend a night on our way to Bannockburn the next day.
|(We love investigating and looking at churches no matter where we are|
and the little churches that splatter the countryside of South New Zealand
are often quite historically amazing - this one is in Clyde)
Our morning started off with a brisk wintery temperature but we also had the wonderful sun at work to bring with it a beautiful day. The drive from Clyde on the way up to Cromwell (which is on the way to Bannockburn) is just amazing. It has all of the same feel of driving from one small town in Colorado to another, dishing out view after view of unbelievable vistas. Passing more hiking trails then I cared to count along our way to visit the wineries of Bannockburn, we were compelled to simply bask in the beauty of creation and offer our thanks in gratitude in being able to experience such a wonderful place. And that was exactly the sort of day we had all day long! We met some wonderful people, tasted a good amount of their grape libations, and all the while drove through the New Zealand countryside enjoying one another's company. Below are some pictures I just have to share. They will have plenty of captions for added story! We hope you're all having a peaceful day like these two days were for us.
|(A short pause at Mt. Difficulty winery where they also have this splendid restaurant at the top of a big hill. Mt. Difficulty itself is actually behind the wood directly in front of the picture across the way from the patio. Quite good food and a really fun atmosphere. These guys are doing it right!)|
|(Seriously, how can someone own a winery at a location as beautiful as this and not just sell wine by the bucket loads? It was so fun visiting wineries with mountains all around them. We love the feel of this area so much. This was taken at the Northburn Winery, where there is also a 100 mile run each year. Crazy but true.)|
|(It really was a pretty day offering us all sorts of spectacles.)|
|(Taken at Carrick Winery, we really enjoyed getting to meet a woman from Brazil who had come to NZ to travel and fell in love with a Kiwi man. They now work at Carrick together (which means knot and is shown in their symbol - Sarah loves knots) on this land in Bannockburn. What a view the have as they work! There is also a restaurant at this location as well but we had just eaten lunch. Perhaps we will be back to try their food as well.)|
|(We did not expect it to be open, but just as we were leaving the Bannockburn area to head through Queenstown and back to Invercargill we stopped at Wild Earth Winery, assuming they would be closed as it was five till five pm. And by all accounts they were closed and having a meeting (but they had not locked a bridge leading across the river to their winery or locked their front door) and as we came in the staff was having a quick talk before heading home. It was clear they were ready to roll and just as I was about to head out a girl volunteered to do the tasting - thanks Sarah! (that's her name - easy to remember) By the end we had been talking to the owner of the Vineyard, from California, and making friends with the staff. What a great group and they totally bent over backwards to help us out. We will definitely be back to try their delicious food!)|
|(The drive up was tricky in a few spots but it was hard to complain too much with such pretty views.)|
|(At the Northburn Winery - I'm sure almost everyone who goes to this winery takes this exact picture. I couldn't help myself from taking it or posting it for that matter.)|
|("Can we live here +Sarah Baddorf?)|
|(I had to add one more. Guardians of the Vines. Wooly Watchers of the Wine. What else?)|