Our final road trip in New Zealand was a three and a half hour drive across the country from Queenstown in the west to Dunedin on the East coast.
The journey was, as always, beautiful and we travelled over mountains and through valleys with azure water winding through them. We stopped in a tiny town called Roxburgh (halfway) for lunch and found a great cafe serving sourdough sandwiches, huge wedges of cake and amazing coffee. It was attached to a treasure trove of a shop selling fabulous antiques and nic-nacs we unfortunately (or fortunately?) had no space for. After lunch and a quick few circuits of a playground, we were back in the car and headed straight for Tunnel Beach, which was 10 minutes from our final stop.
It was a 10 minute walk down to the viewpoint and top of the 'tunnel' (which with sheer drops either side made me extremely nervous of where the children were) and a tunnel with steps took us down to a secluded Cove with boulders that made us feel like miniature people!
The walk back up was really steep and took a bit of persuasion. I've found dangling jelly babies in front of the children particularly useful in these situations!
We were shortly in St Claire, a beautiful beach front suburb of Dunedin, where we stayed with the lovely Donna, who Dave and I met at Loughborough many moons ago and her charming husband and four children. I had just finished Donna's second book 'Borrowed Wings' the sequel to 'Skylark' and was keen to talk it over with her (her pen name is Ruthie Morgan - books available on Amazon and highly recommended).
The children hit it off straight away and Ollie, Georgia, Emily and Leo made Sophia and Jake feel right at home sharing their garden, pets, lego and bedroom floors.
We spent a fun day on bikes, exploring the headland and sampling the cafes, before the children got the house and themselves dressed up for Halloween.
They had a great time visiting the homes of friends, who had plenty of sweets to dish out. We felt so much a part of the community!
Once the sugar high had worn off and the children crashed, we adults continued where we'd left off the previous night, catching up on the last 20 years of our lives, over a delicious curry and New Zealand wine.
After a few laps in St Claire's outdoor, ocean-side salt water swimming pool the following morning and a coffee overlooking the surfers, it was with a heavy heart that we packed up the car for the last time and prepared to leave this beautiful country.
We will be back! We have unfinished business with the ski hills and glaciers here and look forward to coming back to the land of the long white cloud soon.
So, on to Auckland before catching a flight back to Melbourne, Australia for the start of our next adventure!