After a few days in Wellington, we made our way to the South Island to get ready for the family Christmas.
We flew from Wellington to Nelson with Sounds Air on a Cessna Caravan tiny plane that holds only thirteen passengers. The smallest plane I ever been on!
All seats had great view so it was a pretty scenic one hour journey during which we could enjoy the views of the Marlborough Sounds.
They are an extensive network of sea drowned valleys created by a combination of land subsidence and rising sea levels at the north of the South Island.
Very spectacular! The view was definitely a distraction from wondering if the plane was going to land safely. Of course the plane was safe! I just found odd flying in such small aircraft!
We spent few days in Nelson visiting Dom’s dad. I loved the South Island right away. The weather was sunny and hot, I could get rid of my woolly jersey for the first time since being in New Zealand!
Nelson is located on the eastern shore of the Tasman Bay and it is well known for its local arts and crafts scene. The city has one of the best climate in New Zealand and it is nicknamed “Sunny Nelson” due to the annual average of sunshine of over 2400 hours!
During our stay in Nelson we drove to the Abel Tasman National Park. The countryside in this part of the South Island reminded me very much of Tuscany during summer time.
Lush vineyards, fruit and berry trees, green hills and fields. Unfortunately this day I forgot my camera so I am gutted to have no photos of it. I can tell anyways that the National Park is beautiful, with golden beaches and sculptured granite cliffs scattered everywhere.
After few days in Nelson we made our way to Mapua where we were spending the Christmas holidays.
Dom’s mum, Annie, had arranged to do a house swap so we could spend Christmas in a lovely house with a big garden only five minutes walk from the beach absolutely for free!!
Amazing, what a great idea. I only seen this house swap business in movies before, but people actually really do that. Absolutely great!
We had a great time, the weather was sunny and hot, we had a beautiful garden to chill out and take our meals, we ate a huge amount of food and drunk copiously amounts of delicious wine and local brews, we had a great family time.
We went for walks, we did a trip to Rabbit Island, we went berry picking, we went swimming and we walked the dog. Yes, we also had a dog, Sasha, she came with the house and became part of the family during Christmas.
I also celebrated my birthday the day before Christmas. Dom and his family took me out for a lovely dinner to a fish restaurant by the sea with views of Rabbit Island. What a treat, it was a beautiful birthday.
I was also spoiled for gifts, Dom gave me a beautiful silver ring that I now wear every day and his mum and Paul (her husband) got me a New Zealand green stone necklace that is supposed to give strength and courage to the person that is given to.
As tradition says, every member of the family had to wear the necklace for a while before I had it myself. What a cute tradition.
The time in Mapua was fantastic, I loved the place and the weather and of course the people I was with. Dom has a great family, they certainly made me feel part of it.