The High Country Tugs on my Heartstrings

We are back from a lovely holiday in Canterbury and I finally have time to do a blog post. Well, I mean, I have finally waded through the hundreds of photos to select ‘a few’ *cough* to share with you. Mountains of snow have been swapped for mountains of housework, The Husband ripped his finger on his first day back at work and the almost endless rain here is driving me nuts. I’m having South Island withdrawal!

I love the high country of the South Island, with its snowy mountain ranges, big, clear skies, golden grasses, conifer trees and alpine plants. To me, it is the most beautiful scenery in New Zealand. Whenever I am in the high country of Canterbury or Central Otago, the wild landscapes tug at my heartstrings. Sure, it’s cold, but it’s so beautiful. After a few days in Christchurch catching up with family and friends, we drove to Twizel for a friend’s wedding, and stayed, rather conveniently, with my uncle and aunty for a few days.

There were sparkling frosts that left tiny crystals on plant leaves, there was The Little Fulla’s first experience of snow and there was a wedding on a hillside with breathtaking views. I was inspired by plants, people and food. I have learnt to add frozen berries to the batch of microwave porridge half way through cooking and I have learnt that stickers are a great travel distraction activity for The Little Fulla, even if he and the car come out the other end covered in stickers. I have been reminded that the things that I appreciate most are things that can be seen, found or made and moments shared with good people. I can’t even put into words how much I love the country down there, especially after returning to rain, rain and more rain in the Waikato. And so, here are some of the masses of photos I took while on holiday.

One day we drove to Mount Cook Village. The lake was stunning and there was snow to play in!

A piece of wilderness
Why sit in your car and eat when you can traipse down a hill and sit amidst a piece of wilderness?

This was when we tried to go for a walk. Note to self: do not attempt to do a plains walk with a small child. Small child will have a tantrum and will not be contained by a carrier. Small child will end up sitting on the ground playing with stones. But how can you be sorry to end up on the ground when you get to see little plants and seed heads coated in intricate ice crystals?

We ended up exploring around a lake and in the woods instead. There were plenty of stones there for The Little Fulla to play with. Little stones make delightful plopping noises in the water. If anyone was disturbed by large rocks PLOPPING into the still, calm lake, that was not me. And it wasn’t The Little Fulla.

And then, we got to go to a wedding on a hillside with views like this:

Mountain views
How can you compete with views like this? You just can’t.

On the drive back to Christchurch things got a bit more gloomy. Rain turning to ice delayed our trip a little, but I made sure we stopped at Burke’s Pass because it is a treasure-trove of old things.

As beautiful as our holiday was, it was streaked with sadness. Nana passed away the day before we left, when we were driving back from Twizel. I’m glad we got to see her earlier in the week to say goodbye, and I left her knowing goodbye was goodbye. Nana was an independent and stubborn woman, who said whatever she thought. I didn’t always get along with Nana when I was younger, because I’m independent and stubborn too. I did not like to be told what was what but I have often held myself back for not wanting to cause conflict or hurt people’s feelings, which means I don’t always stand up for myself.

One of my most distinct memories of a childhood stay at Nana and Grandad’s place was the toilet paper incident. One day we were questioned by Nana: “Who turned the toilet paper around?” Someone kept turning the toilet paper around on its holder so that it was facing the ‘wrong’ way and Nana demanded to know who it was. That was not the way the toilet paper went in her household. It was me, but I was not about to own up to it, oh no, and the more she questioned us, the more intent I was on hiding my toilet paper offense. That was pure Twiglet stubborness. The toilet paper stopped moving after that though.

Nana did mellow in her later years, and I enjoyed her company when we lived in Christchurch and on our holidays thereafter. She was witty and knowledgeable and not much escaped her notice. She had a great appreciation for music and people’s company. It is hard to believe that she is gone from this world and I wouldn’t be surprised to hear her loud voice booming down from heaven. Goodbye, Nana, I will miss you. Have fun with Jesus.


5 thoughts on “The High Country Tugs on my Heartstrings

  1. Wow.
    What a beautiful, beeeeautiful place.
    Your little fulla is lucky to be able to play somewhere so gorgeous.

    p.s. I know the feeling of wading through hundreds of photos! It is hard not to take loads when the world is this picturesque. The ones you have chosen are perfect.


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