James and I did one night away this week, leaving the kids in Christchurch at school and with a sitter (in the evening). We were only gone from 9am on Monday until 3pm on Tuesday but it was great to get away for a bit!
We drove from Christchurch up through Arthur’s Pass and over to the west coast. James booked us a place in Hokitika, a funky town on the Tasman Sea with a very cool beachy vibe. In an evening date that I decided to call “The Lights of Hokitika,” we watched the sunset, visited a glowworm dell, and stargazed on the beach with a big thermos of hot cocoa.
James had planned the date around my love of stargazing, and the night was lovely for it; we were able to see the Milky Way in spite of a bright half-moon, and we were the only people on the beach so we didn’t have to defend our position atop an old lookout platform right on the shoreline. It was chilly, though, once the sun set.
Other highlights from the 3 hour drive to the west coast, Hokitikia and environs, and drive back:
-Dorothy’s Waterfall, which was much higher and more impressive than I had expected
-Hokitika Gorge, with the bluest water imaginable and an awesome swing bridge
-A tasty meal of smoked salmon, mussels, shrimp, salad with basil-pesto dressing, and ciabatta rolls that we made together (though the grill stopped working halfway through cooking so we had to finish the seafood on an electric skillet…)
-Spying a cow just starting to deliver her calf (on the way to a hike) and then seeing the new, wet little baby when we drove back by 90 minutes later
-Tiny, glowing green glowworms like constellations. That eat bugs.
-Cave Stream Scenic Reserve, where we stopped to hike and look into both ends of the 600 meter limestone cave. Unfortunately we did not have the necessary clothing or equipment to safely (and warmly!) navigate the cave. Some other time, perhaps.
-Good (cheap) pinot noir and spiked hot chocolate
-Spotting a weka crossing the road
-Walking through bird-song and ferns in ancient forests and bushwalks
-Cheerful and positive text messages from the babysitter that the kids were behaving well for her.
-Booking it back over the Main Divide in very good time to pick Calvin up at school on time on Tuesday afternoon.
I am thankful for the experience (getting away with James, going coast to coast, seeing beautiful places, savoring the peace of a short break from the city) and will always remember our 30 hours of lights in Hokitika.