02 January 2007

Dec/Jan 2007 - New Years at Marlborough Sounds

28 December 2006 - 2 January 2007

What a wonderful way to spend 5 days...chilling out in the Marlborough Sounds. I had organised a 5-day trip to Lochmara Bay in Marlborough Sounds and invited two friends and my mother along with me. Basically a girls-only break in the sunshine with lots of alcohol and good food! We were staying at a place called Lochmara Lodge which is about 20mins boat ride from Picton (top of the South Island). Luckily the ferry journey from Wellington was in good conditions and sunshine (as was the water taxi ride from Picton to the lodge).

The very first things we did was take a walk around the lodge...they have about 40 hammocks strewn around the massive property and you just need to figure out which has the best sunshine and breeze (or not). It was sometimes the hardest decision of the day as to which hammock to snooze in!

By the time we had a look around and familiarised ourselves with area, it was time to open the first bottle of wine (of 14) that we had bought with us. They don't sell food and alcohol here so we had to bring all our food and drink with us (other than for the evening meal which we ordered every night). After a few bottles of wine and a very tasty dinner, it was time for (what would become our ritual), evening spa. I think our 'arrrhs' and 'oohs' were heard all over the lodge as the spa has a balcony looking over the water and the water was very warm! I think we lasted 20mins before we became overheated and had to beat a hasty retreat back to the lodge. By the time we had showered and dressed, I think we were very much ready for bed.

The next day we sat in the sun, read, went kayaking, snoozed in hammocks, went for walks, ate, drank and just lazed about. Not a very active day, but we were only just starting to unwind. The weather was fantastic but there were times when the sun was hidden by the clouds and it got a bit chilly. This also happened at night when the sun set and the wind came up. But with the open fire and nightly spa we didn't feel the cold too much.

The third day was definitely more active with Deirdre, Cheryl and myself going out for a 6hr walk from Anikawa back to the lodge along the Queen Charlotte Track. We got dropped off by the boat and then spent the day walking back. We had lots of sun and the track was pretty flat and easy...except for a steep climb up to a 450m lookout point. From here we had 360 views of the Marlborough Sounds...worth every bead of sweat (though Deirdre thinks otherwise)!

That night was New Year's Eve so out came more bottles of wine mixed with games of patanque, laughter, good conversation and a skinny dip by the very adventurous lodge staff! A great way to see in the new year.

No hangover the next day so Cheryl and myself spent the morning kayaking and then we all spent the day doing absolutely nothing other than reading. playing games, chatting, and snoozing in the very comfortable hammocks. Bliss. That night we had lamb shank for dinner and then polished off the last bottles of wine. With the spa thrown in as well, we were pretty knackered from the night before and I think we all had a good nights sleep before our departure the next morning.

After all the relaxation, food and rest, we were ready to face the world again. That was before we realised we would be sailing back into Wellington with 5 knot weather! By the time we had docked, I think half the people on the ferry were throwing up or at least feeling there were about to! We also had 11 degree cold southerlies blowing so the holiday felt like a dim memory by the time we all got home.

But I think we can all say we had a great time unwinding, relaxing and gathering the necessary energy to tackle the new year.

Dec/Jan 2007 - Photos from New Year

A view of Marlborough Sounds

Boat house at Lochmara Lodge

We had decided that I would have the boat, Cheryl would have the owner and Dierdre would have the owner's money...there's nothing like sharing!

The owner's daughter acting as the 'motor'!

Mum having a good laugh as I take ANOTHER photo

Me with the Punga people (see the Lochmara website for more details)

A view of the lodge to the right hand side

A bit of activity going on with Cheryl and Dierdre...

The entrance to Lochmara Lodge from the Queen Charlotte Track

Cheryl and Deirdre not looking amused as a I take ANOTHER photo when we were doing the 6hr walk