We had a leisurely breakfast in our apartment in Akaroa on Monday morning, after which we packed up and took off for Hanmer Springs. From the postcards I saw, it looked like a gorgeous location, right at the foot of the mountains. Unfortunately, it was cloudy/rainy the entire time we were there, so one couldn't actually see the mountains.
Our accomodation luck continued, and we stumbled across a cottage rental company. They would rent out an entire house to you, even for one night, for less than the price of some hotels. We got a nice little 3 bedroom house, with a log fire, electric blankets AND heated towel racks (my new best friends!)
That afternoon, after getting settled in the house, we got out swim suits on and headed for the hot springs. Aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. That was incredibly relaxing. There was a light rain falling part of the time, which cooled my face, butthe rest of me was nice and warm. Moving between pools was an experience. It was NOT a warm day- something like 8 degrees Celsius (46 Fahrenheit) and wet, but the temperature made the pools feel that much nicer.
After a relaxing 2 hours, we went back to the house, got all cleaned and dressed, and went searching for dinner. Anne-Nicole had spotted something earlier that looked appetizing, so we headed for that, and on the way Uncle Sean suggested all of the places we didn't want to eat....like Burger King. We got to the restaurant, Jollie Jack's, which had a nice fire going and NZ news on a big screen TV in the bar. Our food was delicious. (Mussels to share, incredible seafood pasta, steak, and cod....and several jugs of water.) It was the sort of restaurant where the presentation of the food is beautiful, but not pretentious and over the top.
That night Uncle Sean built a fire in our fireplace and we sat down with a bar of chocolate and some local wine and vegged. Our hosts had left behind a selection of movies, and it was a matter of choosing between "Willy Wonka" and "Chicken Run." The chickens won. Easily. (Watching a movie like "Chicken Run" with your average, run of the mill person is NOTHING like watching it with Uncle Sean.)