Arthur's Pass Christchurch Lake Pukaki New Zealand South Island Travel

South Island in Winter Day 1: A Stopover in CHCH, Arthur’s Pass and Lake Pukaki

An early morning start for us on our first day but we were so ready for this break and so excited to see South Island again that the 4:30am start was no biggie. We just rolled on out of bed and got on out.

This time we’d made the call to fly direct to Christchurch instead of driving to Auckland and catching a flight from there. It was more expensive which was annoying (damn the Air NZ monopoly!!) but we were in Christchurch by 8:00am and ready to hit the road, which we thought was worth the extra cost.

First thing on the agenda – coffee and breakfast. I’d checked out the menus of the local cafes in Christchurch with one main criteria – it had to have something different on the menu other than freaking Eggs Benedict or Pancakes with Fruit Compote, of which the menus in Tauranga cafes have plenty of. Hello Sunday seemed to fit the bill. We nav’d our way there and knew it would be great as soon as we parked outside it. It’s in a cute building, and the decor is really cool yet relaxed. When I asked for a table for us she asked if we had a reservation. Umm… no. A breakfast reservation? What is this mind blowing thing you speak of??? In Melbourne you wait half an hour for a table. There are no reservations. We managed to score a seat at the bar anyway and had an awesome breakfast.

Kran had the beef cheek hash (Slow braised beef cheeks, potato, poached eggs, pickled cucumber and sriracha hollandaise).

I went with the mushroom croquettes (Served with fried polenta, candied walnuts, truffle infused goats cheese, rocket and herb emulsion).

We got a peanut butter jelly brioche donut to take away which we devoured later at one of the Arthur’s Pass lookouts.

Then on the road again, driving 2 hours to Arthur’s Pass just to enjoy the view. We literally got to Arthur’s Pass and then had to turn back to drive the next 4 hours to Lake Pukaki.

We stopped in Geraldine to check out the Barker’s jam store which had so many different fruit products it was so good. While we were there we also got a meat pie to snack on from Fairlie’s Bakery which was ridiculously good. We started off saying it was a 7 and ended up saying that a pie fresh from the bakery would be about an 8.

With the sun setting we arrived at Lakestone Lodge.

It’s an “off the grid” luxury B&B which means they are not connected to the electricity network. They operate solely on solar panels and generators. Mike, one of the owners, explained that the building was designed precisely so that in winter months the low winter sun would warm the rooms up (sometimes to 30 deg C!) and in summer the eaves would shelter the entire room from the sun. There are kilometres of underfloor heating laid underneath, and we couldn’t believe it when we arrived and Mike told us that the warmth in the room was from the day’s sun.

Hanging out in the lounge before dinner.

We had dinner at the Lodge which was delicious! Here we go:

Homemade bread basket.

Buttered scones.

Salmon 3 ways.

Venison.

Gingerbread and white chocolate.

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