We spend the rest of the day relaxing in the hostel garden and then head to the cinema for a change to see The Inbetweeners
. The reason we decided on cinema was a) we had heard it was quite quirky and b) they served hot cookies at the interval. Turns out that the cinema is very quirky with sofas, airline seats and even the front half of a car in the cinema where you can sit to watch the film. Plus the cinema was set up by a Scot and based on the picturehouse in Inverness. I’m not too sure on the resemblance but the owner had wanted to re-create the more traditional cinema with ushers, intervals and character. It made for a good evening, the warm cookies were especially good and the film was actually quite funny.
Christmas Eve was spent relaxing in the sun again, going for walks around the lakeside and soaking up the atmosphere around the lakefront where family and groups of friends were gathering to have a drink in the bars or kayak/water ski or swim in the lake (they are pretty active in New Zealand!)
Finally Christmas Day is here and we treat ourselves to a fry up in the morning in the sun, then head for a sunbathe and even a swim in the lake (at first it was just for the novelty but it was actually quite refreshing aka cold) and then finally back to the hostel for some bubbles and to put on our Christmas dinner – half BBQ (steak and prawns) and half roast (potatoes, carrots and parsnips). Our final course was chocolate Gu dessert (imported from the UK and strangely enough works out at the same price). Add in a couple more walks around the lake to help digest all the good food and that was our Christmas Day. A different but very enjoyable Kiwi Christmas!!
We liked our last hostel so much that we decided that was where we wanted to spend our Kiwi Christmas and so we headed back down south to Wanaka. Turned out to be a rather good decision as that afternoon a series of strong earthquakes hit Christchurch and although there was no serious damage, it would have been a rather unnerving experience. Our earthquake experience was more mild, as we got to the checkout at the supermarket in Wanaka with all our Christmas goodies, we feel a swaying as if we were on a boat and see all the displays rocking as well. I'm pretty sure 50% of the people in the supermarket didn’t notice due to the Christmas shopping frenzy and we only noticed as the supermarket staff were slightly concerned (possibly they weren’t looking forward to clearing up any broken goods). But it didn’t come to anything stronger and that, thankfully, was our earthquake experience.