On Friday night was my friend K.'s 21st birthday party which was a COSTUME PARTY!!! Such a relief after so many formal/cocktail dress 21sts which, though fun, require an endless supply of pretty clothes. At first I wanted to go as a hippie but then I couldn't find a sufficiently ugly dress at the op shop. So I went and hired me a nun costume! I've wanted to dress up as a nun ever since I got obsessed with The Sound of Music, and I have to say, it's so much fun. I went around all Friday singing "how do you solve a problem like Maria". Below is a picture of me and K. There were also cowboys, Snow White, zombies, fairies, singers from K.I.S.S., Austin Powers, hobbits... and so on.
Then on Saturday morning I got up very early, and a friend (P.) and I drove down to Dunedin for another friend's wedding. I also have two sisters and some friends there, and P. has some friends studying there. It was so much fun travelling with a friend for the five hour trip, and it was a rather beautiful trip too. Soon after leaving Christchurch we had the most beautiful view of the mountains, snow-capped quite early in the year and stretched right out along the horizon.
We also stopped at the Moeraki boulders, which are about two thirds of the way to Dunedin, and spent about half an hour there. Moeraki boulders are weird concretions which you will see below. It was a sunny day but a rather frigid wind was blowing and it made me feel so happy to be back in the New Zealand countryside, feeling fresh, rather than swatting away flies and sweltering in thick windless air in Western Australia. P. has a moral problem with wearing shoes on the beach so she happily froze her toes off.
Dunedin itself was exhibiting absolutely horrible weather when we arrived. I had to go buy myself some tights at a supermarket because I had chosen wedding clothes with Christchurch weather in mind - silly me. The wedding itself was lovely although very very quick; the bride arrived a few minutes early and the vows were all over in maybe ten minutes! Then I spent a lovely evening with my sister V. and her husband and kids, and we stayed at their house.
The next morning I dropped P. off to see friends, and I went out to one of the beaches to visit my brother-in-law and my two nephews (unfortunately my sister was at a conference all weekend so I couldn't see her). They're renting at this beach until they move into their house and it was a beautiful sunny day so we went for a long walk along Brighton beach and climbing around the rocky cliffs (which I am paying for now - I don't think I've used some of those muscles since I broke my heel!). It was great to see them again and it is such a lovely beach. I love Dunedin beaches. They're very pretty but also wild, and it's not uncommon to come across seals, sea lions or penguins enjoying the day. My sister has seen whales off the beach on numerous occasions.
Some crazy man surfing - full wetsuit, but still... it must have been pretty frigid.
After I left their house, I went into Dunedin city for a couple of hours to visit the Otago Museum. Unfortunately the friend I wanted to see had to cancel, so I went instead to the tropical butterfly forest in the museum which I've heard a lot about. This is kept heated at about 34 degrees celsius, so obviously the Dunedin people, who are used to maybe twenty degrees on a really good day, love it. It was very cool, full of tropical plantings and butterflies flying around everywhere. One landed on my camera and some people were walking around with butterflies sitting on them. I took lots of photos but here are a couple of the best.
Then I picked up P. at about 4pm, and we returned to Christchurch! Another beautiful trip until the sun set, and a nice warm electric blanketed bed to hop into at the end.