Jean and I spent last week on vacation at a rental house in Wanaka. Wanaka is a mountain town sited on the shores of an alpine lake and a gateway to Mount Aspiring National Park. It was a great getaway and we enjoyed exploring the many tracks around the area and eating at some great restaurants. This is an off time of year there between summer and the winter skiing season. We had some rain and wind but also some gorgeous sun. One day we took a drive over Haast pass to the west coast. It was a sunny still day and it felt like summer again briefly as we explored the dunes near Ship Creek.
We went back to Lake Ohau this weekend, spending the night at Ohau Lodge, a great place at the end of the pavement on Lake Ohau. Sam was able to come but not sleep in the room. Luckily there was a good spot for him just outside our door. The lodge wasn’t too busy this weekend and was very peaceful. We did a run on the gravel road by the lake. We really enjoy this getaway from Oamaru and there’s a lot to explore in the mountains. The lodge runs a ski operation in the winter we will have to check out.
This was our first weekend to explore the area and we took advantage of it, poking around the district near Oamaru. We went to Elephant Rocks, taking the back road through some farming country. This is an area we hope to come back to for bouldering. Unfortunately we can’t bring Sam there but we found lots of areas nearby for him. We met the owner at Elephant Rocks who was very welcoming. There was only one other couple there. The rocks have really cool pocketing and are just plopped in the field. Parts of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe were filmed here but I haven’t seen that yet. Nearby we got to hike with Sam by the river where he enjoyed terrorizing the local bunny population and playing in the river.
We made it out to Kurow and after a hike up a hill in town went to the winery cafe for an excellent tasting and meal. We really liked the Pasquale Waitaki Pinot Noir. And we got a recommendation on another hike we could take the dog on near Lake Aviemore. We headed home to recharge for the next day. This morning started more slowly but we took off south and checked out a beach really close by that was great for walking. Sam found a seal lounging by the river mouth. We drove on down the quiet coastal road and had lunch at Fleur’s Place, a pretty famous restaurant in Moeraki that specializes in cooking up fresh fare that the fishing boats in the harbor bring in each evening. We had a really delicious blue cod. Sated, we headed home, pretty excited about everything that is in our backyard.
I picked up Sam from quarantine in Christchurch this morning, just after making a big run to Animates, the NZ PetSmart. It was a big process to get him here and an ordeal for him with the long flight and ten day quarantine. But he’s looking pretty good and I hope he will enjoy his new home of Oamaru, New Zealand. Looks like we will be moving to a house with a nice fenced yard for him. Once I got back to town the initial experience was not so welcoming as after the six hour round trip drive I decided to get a coffee at an excellent little place in town and walk Sam around a bit. Sam did get some positive attention at first with a “beautiful dog” comment but right after that another lady informed me that dogs weren’t allowed on the street! Further, she said the fine was $500. I was kind of mystified but then I did see an outline of a dog crossed out stenciled on the sidewalk later. I’ve since read that dogs are indeed not allowed in the central part of town. So we headed back to the car and took an on leash walk in the local reserve where there are also quite a bit of sheep.So we will have to figure out the best ways to exercise Sam since there doesn’t seem to be an off-leash park in town although one has been proposed. There may be a stretch of beach he can run on but I definitely have to keep him from harassing the local penguins. So perhaps he’s not a totally free dog but we are back together and should have many adventures to look forward to.
We got a chance to visit Sam this morning in quarantine on our way down to Oamaru. We rented a car in Christchurch and I got my first left side of the road driving experiences going out to the kennel he is staying at while in quarantine. It was so great to see him even though we could only play with him in his little run and not take him for a walk or anything. He looks really good actually, sweet as ever, perhaps a bit bored. I am looking forward to many adventures together and get to pick him up on Tuesday. His spot looked pretty cozy and the people there were very nice.