Published Oct 4, 2009

Based on past experience, we knew that we needed to relax, catch our breath, and get a few nights’ solid sleep before we could really appreciate our honeymoon. Also based on past experience, we knew that we wouldn’t allow ourselves to make such passive choices unless there was really very little else to do and we were also in a brilliant place. That’s why we planned ourselves a nice splurge for the beginning of our honeymoon. We got out of Christchurch for a couple of days, drove north to Kaikoura, and stayed outside of town at a quiet lodge instead of our usual downtown hotel will small, reasonably-priced rooms. Specifically, we stayed in a treehouse at the Hapuku Lodge. Go ahead, click on that link, we might as well get the you hating me started so that we can be on the same page.

View Larger Map

The drive to Kaikoura was exciting and exhilarating; nothing quite says “I’m breaking all of society’s conventions!” like driving on the wrong side of the road, and we did that for about two and a half hours. That’s right, in New Zealand they drive on the left. Apart from having to look about sixteen times before making a right turn — that’s the Kiwi version of the left turn, except with all the traffic coming from places you don’t expect it — it was no problem. The only trouble came from our rented Ford Mondeo, a nice enough car that unfortunately you can’t see the right side, left side, front, or any of the four corners from when driving. Not quite knowing where your unfamiliar rental car is can be an exciting experience when practicing driving where you shouldn’t be anyway.

Heading for Kaikoura, we saw astounding fields of unknown plants, to say nothing of the sheep eating said plants.

Once there, we settled into the treehouse we were staying in. That’s right, it was up in the trees, and it was gorgeous:

Here was our view:

Our first night in town, we ate at Hapuku’s restaurant and had a truly stunning meal.

The next night, we went into town and had another lovely dinner.

In between, we went out to two great lunches, one out of the back of a truck, the other out of a mobile home. The back of the truck people — calling themselves just Kaikoura Seafood BBQ — barbecued fish. while the mobile home lady — Nin’s Bin —sold nothing but “crayfish,” Kaikoura’s famous, fresh, delicious seafood that we call spiny lobster in the US and the French call langoustine. Nin boiled them right up and then cut them in half with a gigantic, toothy cleaver that looked like an evil paper cutter. Here’s a before and after so that you can see how much we enjoyed the crayfish.

In such a beautiful venue, with so little to do, we could hardly do anything but relax and get our energy back. But don’t worry, tomorrow you’ll get to learn the pea-sized hail and how my ass got attacked by stinging pests, then you’ll feel better about your trip. Until then, enjoy our relaxing treehouse some more: