Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Weekend playing in Kaikoura

Sunday morning, Kaikoura, 13th May 2007

We've just had a weekend away in Kaikoura, playing with our classic car friends and it was a lot of fun. This was a different style of weekend to the ones we normally run. Normally we have tour notes and a lot of structure but as this was an additional weekend to what we normally offer, I couldn't be bothered writing tour notes and running around checking the route. Instead, on Friday night after talking to various people that were on the weekend about what sort of driving they might be interested in, I photocopied a map and applied a highlighter. Much simpler.

We were extremely lucky with the weather as well. It was a perfect autumn weekend - crisp mornings (no frosts yet though!) and clear sunny days. We haven't had the extremely strong winds we normally get at this time of the year so the autumn leaves are still on all the trees. Very spectacular driving on the inland Kaikoura road through to Hamner. It was perfect weather for owning a soft top car. Unfortunately, our classic cars are still off the road so we had to travel in the Subaru wagon - not very exciting.

We'd decided that we would stay at the YHA for the weekend. Its right on the seafront with great views looking back towards Kaikoura and gets all the afternoon sun. We also decided that we weren't going to self cater! This time we were going to eat out for every single meal over the weekend and we did. Fantastic fun.

Found an excellent cafe (Encounter) that opened at 7.30am for our breakfasts. I was good on Saturday morning and had muesli and natural yoghurt but they offered hotcakes with bacon and bananas as well so I succumbed on Sunday morning! As did I. The service was excellent and the cafe wasn't really noisy like so many modern places are. The other excellent aspect was that it was on the esplanade so you could sit there and look at the sea. So many places in Kaikoura don't have a sea view.

The weekend was based around Donegal House, which is an Irish Bar with restaurant and accommodation. I'd stayed there a couple of years ago with another group and found the accommodation excellent. The appeal is that everything is on site so you don't have to worry about people driving after maybe having too much to drink. The owner is a law unto himself and is passionate about his Irish music and plays it extremely loudly but its all a lot of fun.

So all in all, it was a very relaxing and casual weekend. Beautiful weather, fantastic company and interesting roads. Plus, we weren't at home slaving away on the house. Always a good thing. Everyone that attended were very keen for another weekend like it but having organised two events in a row, I'm quite keen to have a break. We'll probably do it again next year though!

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