As you know, we are house-sitting in New Brighton, a coastal suburb of Christchurch, about ten kilometres east of the city centre, and known for having the biggest ocean pier in Australasia.

A little further down the coast is the Southshore Sand Spit where the river estuary provides an important roosting ground for many wading birds.  It’s a lovely walk through the dunes, and at low tide you can walk alongside the mudflats, to pass away an hour or two.

We discovered that there was a wine region about a 45 minute drive north of Christchurch, in the Waipara valley.  As this is the fastest growing wine region in New Zealand with around 80 vineyards, covering more than 1,200 hectares of plantings, we decided to check it out!   We first of all visited the Pegasus Bay vineyardwhere we enjoyed our first tasting session, before moving on to the home of Greystone wines.   Our final stop of the day was our favourite, The Mud House Winery and Restaurant where we enjoyed a delicious lunch of prawn twists, bacon and mushroom wraps, plus cheese and antipasto platters, all washed down with a nice glass of perfectly-chilled Equinox Sauvignon Blanc Reserve.  Delicious!

As our time in Christchurch drew to a close, we visited the very interesting Air Force museum, located on the former RNZAF Base at Wigram.  The museum is a “must see” for anyone even remotely interested in aviation history and, best of all, it’s FREE entry (which always pleases Michael as it’s his favourite price!)