Arriving back in Christchurch after doing a loop of the South Island, it was time to commit to a plan for the rest of my time in New Zealand. The original plan was to ski the club ski fields at Broken River or a similar field near Christchurch, however due to the poor snow conditions in New Zealand this year the fields weren’t even open yet. The mountains outside Queenstown had plenty of snow, and spending more time in Queenstown sounded like good fun, so I decided to ski down south.
In the meantime, Jucy had a relocation deal from Christchurch to Auckland that was too good for me to resist. They needed their RVs relocated back to Auckland and were willing to pay the (expensive) ferry ride for vehicle, and toss in a tank of gas. They allow four days to travel to Auckland, so plenty of time to check out a few cities and mountains along the way, and free accommodations camping in the vehicle at night. I reserved a car to pickup on Monday morning, as that was the first day I could get a ferry reservation.
I had four days to enjoy in Christchurch with Emma and Brendan before heading up north. Thursday was supposed to be a beautiful day, so Emma and I went up to Mount Hutt to enjoy some skiing in the sunshine. Unfortunately Hutt has almost no snow this year, but they have been able to make enough snow to keep the groomers open and they softened up nicely in the sunshine.
After an enjoyable day in the mountains we headed back to town, and I decided to cook up a winter classic for the Kiwis: chili and cornbread. Emma and I went off to the store and had some difficultly finding corn meal or corn bread mix, until Emma thought to check the gluten free section. Sure enough, thanks to the rise of gluten free products, you can now purchase corn bread mix in New Zealand! The rest of the chili supplies gathered we headed back home and I set to cooking. The chili dinner turned out great, with the cornbread being particularly popular.
The next day was another sunny one so Emma and I went to the local golf course to play a few holes. Unfortunately at this point it was clear that I was sick, so we didn’t stay out too long and I rested for the remainder of the day. Emma was flying up to Hamilton for the weekend so it was just Brendan and I holding down the house. I still wasn’t feeling 100% so I mostly relaxed, and spent time sorting out various logistical details I had been ignoring. We had a lovely dinner on Saturday evening at Brendan’s sister’s house in Christchurch, and then Sunday I packed my gear and prepared to head north.
The Kiwis love their savory pies, and I have been eating them at every opportunity. We had plenty of chili leftovers, so Brendan decided to apply the standard New Zealand technique of putting your leftovers in a pie. It turns out that pie makers are a thing here: think of a panini press but with two little pie cups inside, so you just put the crust in the shapes, fill, and roast. Ten minutes later you have perfect pies! The chili cheese pies were fantastic, I might need a pie maker back home.