5 December 2018
I was so cold last night that it took me several hours to get to sleep, despite tucking my icy feet into Ian! I was so tired and so annoyed that I couldn’t settle! 🙄 Nonetheless, I did eventually manage to sleep, and we woke just before 07:00, when Ian’s alarm was due to go off. Cornelia stayed fast asleep until 08:00, so had a brilliant long sleep, which hopefully would set her up for the day!
We were dressed, breakfasted, packed up and in the car by 08:40, with plenty of time to get to Mt Cook Airfield. Cornelia spent the hour drive doing her Kiwi Activity Book, pretending to be Fido and cooking us some food, and was in a gorgeous mood. On the way, we received an email from Inflite to say that due to the weather conditions, they had had to cancel our flight and we should call or email to rebook. We rang them to explain that we were leaving New Zealand tomorrow so couldn’t rebook and asked if they were flying at all today. She replied that we could do a 25 minute flight instead, and they would pro rata a partial refund for us. We thought that was a great alternative and continued our journey towards Mt Cook Airport.
We could see the weather coming in, although the mountains seemed to be quite clear at the tops. When we arrived, we “checked in”, were given green wrist bands and shown a safety video. There was a toy wooden plane, which Cornelia “flew” around the room and some colouring books. One of them was Beauty and the Beast, and I read it to her (you could colour in each page of the story) and she said that it was quite different from the film she’d seen and not nearly as scary!
As 10:30 approached, we were directed outside to board our helicopter. Cornelia had been given kids’ headphones already, so was largely oblivious to the loud whirring of the rotor blades, and was very excited to see our helicopter for the first time! We were carefully guided across to the door and scrambled in – me first, then Bugsy, then Ian. There was one other passenger, a sweet girl from Tokyo, who sat in the front seat alongside the pilot, JK.
We strapped ourselves in and off we went! Lift off was incredible – what a thrill! We flew up and along the valley, turning right and rising up to the top of a mountain, where we landed and could get out for ten minutes. The peak of Mt Cook was still covered in cloud, but in some ways, it made the whole thing more atmospheric, to be surrounded by dark clouds. Cornelia was so happy to be throwing snowballs and we had a mini snowball fight in the deep fresh snow, and posed for photos, taking in the breathtaking views. What a life moment!
JK then said that the wind had just started to change, so we needed to leave so we weren’t caught up in it, but we did have nearly the full ten minute stop, and were more than happy to get back in. Our return journey took along the valley, over the frozen lake, dotted with icebergs. The landscape had apparently changed quite a lot following the Christchurch earthquake. Cornelia loved every moment of it and so did Ian and I.
Back at the airport, we returned our green bands (Cornelia was allowed to keep hers), and bought the mounted photo that JK had taken of the three of us, to add to our collection of touristy photos!
As we went back to car, Ian said how annoying it was that we could now see the top of Mt Cook, but to be honest, I was just so happy that we’d been able to go at all! We retraced our steps to the main road, and continued our drive to Akaroa. I asked that we stop so I could take a photo of Mt Cook behind Lake Pukaki, but he decided to stop in virtually the worst place possible, in front of a row of trees and on a construction site. I was not impressed! Nor did we stop for a photo opportunity at Lake Tekapo, although we did stop for fuel there. So, that was nice. My mood did not improve until after lunch, when we stopped at Geraldine Forest. Cornelia and Ian are their sandwiches on the bench outside, but I stayed in the car (didn’t need a sandwich today!) and googled Christmassy stuff!
We have been discussing the need for a larger hand luggage bag, as we’ve more or less run out of space in our golf luggage, so we found a bag that fit the dimensions at Warehouse in Rolleston, a town en route. We nipped to Countdown too, for some veggies for our supper in New Zealand and then wound our way south of Christchurch to Akaroa, which had been recommended to us by several friends. Cornelia got stuck back into her Kindle, giggling hysterically at Paw Patrol – such a happy little noise!!
Our last night in New Zealand is to be spent in a motel, overlooking the waterfront. I’m sure it’s quite stunning when the sun is out, as it was pretty cute even in the rain! It is unusual though, because everything is French! There are French flags, the road names are things like Rue Jolie, and it all stems from the French settlers here in the 1840s, which apparently sped up the British desire for a treaty with the Maori.
Once we’d emptied the car, I went off for my run – just twenty minutes tonight, as it was already 18:30, and we still hadn’t had tea. It was a brisk run in the light rain, and very scenic. I ran just past the lighthouse, and back again, stopping at the grocery store for some milk.
Cornelia was thrilled because Paw Patrol was on the TV, so we indulged her, while I cooked supper. Lamb, courgettes, carrots and potatoes for me and Ian, and chicken, broccoli, carrots and potatoes for Bugsy. She ate quite well, but it was well past her bedtime and after I’d switched off the TV at the end of her programme (which we had already agreed to do), she actually spat her mouthful of chicken onto the carpet and refused to pick it up. With her Kindle charging gone for the night, she tried sobbing on the floor for a bit, before realising it was getting her nowhere and retreating to her chair for the rest of her meal. I am delighted to report that she did indeed then pick up the chicken and put it in the bin, and apologised. I was very pleased that a tired screaming episode had been successfully avoided, without any leniency being given.
I decided her shower could wait until the morning, so Ian brushed her teeth and started her stories while I did some of the washing up. I then cuddled her while he finished the stories, and for five minutes after.
She did call me back in shortly afterwards, but once I’d reassured her that Moo could do my job of keeping her safe (that is why she wanted me there, so she said), she smiled and snuggled in, told me she loved me, and settled straight down. 🥰
We have packing to do… unpacking and repacking for a flight, to make sure everything is evenly distributed and nothing troublesome is in our hand luggage!