For two and a half weeks, we would be the proud sitters of a house in the middle of nowhere rural Canterbury, including two big, cuddly dogs and an outdoor cat. And a woodburner and a shower and an oven. To say we were excited is an understatement.

The joys of a real house

So here we are, in a real house, and we can do ANYTHING we want! First up? An appointment with a random dentist, as I’d been having some toothache. It turned out that the wisdom tooth that had started poking through my gum was causing havoc for my other teeth, so it had to come out. But, with that out of the way, we were all set to enjoy hanging out at the house, watching movies on Netflix every night, baking bread and cookies every day, chilling in front of the fire with a dog on either side. When I visited the local arboretum, I found a few walnut trees with hundreds of walnuts underneath, so picking up a bag full of walnuts to take home and dry in front of the fire became a weekly activity.



Being in the middle of nowhere rural Canterbury meant we were halfway between Castle Hill, known for its bouldering and Christchurch, which has multiple sport climbing crags. We visited both again during our stay and also popped into the (tiny) boulder gym in Christchurch on a rainy day. We even managed to attend one of the New Zealand Alpine Club meetings in Christchurch, where we had a fun night listening to a guy who is trying to climb all the peaks he can see from this window. Made us pretty keen to get going with our own 50 peaks challenge, so therefore…


…we did a lot of hiking! We started off with Mt Oxford, a 1364m peak pretty close to our (temporary) house. We had a beautiful sunny day and were trying out our new hiking poles, which meant we were flying along the track! Probably a good thing as the loop I’d picked turned out to be 20km and took us a wee while. I forgot to take photos on this hike as we got a phone call halfway through that we managed to secure a rental place in Wanaka!

Our home-to-be in Wanaka

Next one up was a big one, Castle Hill Peak at 1998m. Our mate Scott joined us for this one. We had a very chilly day, pretty much the first hike where we were wearing all of our layers, and got some patches of snow near the top. Beautiful views all around though and a really cool hike, our favourite of the area!

On our last day we decided to squeeze one more mountain in, and what better candidate than Mt Thomas :). Arriving at the carpark, we first helped some fellow campers with pushing their van out of the mud, before setting off on the Red Pine track. It was a pretty steep climb so I was glad when we reached the ridge and were able to follow that up to the top (1023m). We hung out at the summit in the sun for a while before returning via the – even steeper – summit track through an ugly forestry area. All in all not the most beautiful hike, but good to be out for the day again and get some walking in.

Prepping for the next stage

Apart from all the fun stuff as above, we had some work to do. Since we had decided that we wouldn’t mind staying in Wanaka for the winter, we had to find a house to live in. Easier said than done as I already explained. We applied for a few rental places before figuring out we had to have our full group of flatmates together before applying, so we started chatting to some other people looking for places. When we joined up with two other people that had already applied for a few places, we were able to combine all of our half-finished applications and within a day we got the call that we were successful! One of our new flatmates was able to have a look at the house (since none of us had actually been there yet) so we saw a short video of what would become our house for winter, and it looked awesome!

So with Thomas his job and the house in place, it was time for the next step: a lightning visit to Auckland for Thomas to pick up some of his tools that he will need for his new job. He literally flew in Tuesday morning, visited our storage unit, went to see some friends, went bouldering, slept at a friend’s place, went climbing, visited some friends and flew home. In the meantime, the owners asked us whether we would mind staying another two days as their flight got cancelled, which actually worked out well for us as it gave us a bit more time to cuddle the dogs :). And then the Agung volcano on Bali erupted, and the owners’ flight got cancelled again, which actually worked out well as it gave us some more time to actually pack up our stuff, chuck it back in the van, and clean the house before finally saying goodbye to our new furry friends.

Mojo & Ruby

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