For my boyfriends Christmas present I bought us a romantic weekend in Hanmer Springs, Canterbury. Like a really smart person I also accidentally booked this all for Valentines weekend!
So this glorious weekend slowly rolled around and I got more and more excited planning special things for us to do, and rubbing it in that he had no idea what they were. We drove up to Hanmer Springs on Saturday morning and spent the first couple of hours there getting caffeinated and strolling through the quaint small village shops.
After this we both decided it would be time for a nap, before our completely exhausting 30min uphill walk. The Conical Hill Walk, while one of the easier walks in the tramping brochure for Hanmer Springs, really did not disappoint. We got a 360 degree view of the Hanmer Springs area, and also a shaded seating area.
After this we dressed up and headed out to Whateva! Brassiere in the Hanmer township. Dinner here was absolutely amazing. I got this to die for creamy mushroom pasta with olives and sundried tomatoes and Matt got a delicious venison steak with salad and roast veges!
Valentines day dawned on Sunday with an early trip to the Hanmer Springs Hot pools. This was a great way to spend a crystal clear day, and also a romantic start to the most romantic day of the year. We managed to laze about in pools ranging from 33-42 degrees for almost two hours, got a bit too much sun, and got awkwardly paparazzi-ed by the pool photographer. From here it was time to head to the hills for a picnic. While not really knowing where we were headed, we ended up on the top of a mountain in the Clarence Valley which is situated in the Hanmer Springs Conservation Reserve. Here we sipped on sparkling wine, and compiled the best picnic sandwiches of all time!
On the way home we were disappointed to discover the winery we were meant to do tastings at closed but decided to stop off at the Hanmer River to have a look around. Both of us were stunned at the gorgeous teals and light blues of the water, and how the river slowly twisted and turned around banks of light grey cobbles and protruding boulders.
As we were heading home we went past the sign to Kaikoura, and Matt asked if I wanted to detour to Kaikoura. I said yes! Kaikoura has been a place I have been wanting to visit for years now, and it made it a lot more exciting with the plans being spur of the moment. We had a full tank of gas, clear blue skies and nowhere to be, so why not!? The coastline of Kaikoura was gorgeous. The rounded pebbles and jutting rocks, sounds of the waves pushing the cobbles up the beach, ocean stacks standing out in stark contrast to the flat glittering water and the weather worn cliff faces were all stunning. In Kaikoura, all of these came together perfectly in one place as the setting sun cut patches of light in and out along the embayments and stretches of the coast. It was a gorgeous drive, and a perfect end to the day of Valentines!