Having missed a family Christmas the previous year due to starting a new job and needing to save leave for Tour Aotearoa, I headed south for two weeks. With Adele & James newly married and in their first home, it was to be Christmas in Oamaru for us – for the first time in over ten years. Much to my amusement it was to be on the same street as ten years ago too.
Driving north up the highway on Christmas Eve.
Adele and James were very excited to host their first Christmas. It would be very different to our traditionally small family gathering, with James’s parents and sister joining up on the day. I’ve definitely never seen so many presents under a tree for our Christmas.
Everything went swimmingly – it was a lovely, relaxed day with family and the food was most excellent.
Dad testing the heat from the brazier – a fine way to be able to tolerate cool Oamaru evenings outside.
Don’t mind if I do.
Suddenly, Don invited me out on a Christmas Day MTB ride. Wow! This is fantastic. We went up to the reservoir, where there is a great little loop.
We made sure to be back for Christmas dinner…
and dessert – which may have been just as large as the main course.
After all that, there was a couple of spare hours for a big walk around South Hill and down to the harbour. It had clouded over, but my past complaining of poor Oamaru Christmas weather was non-existent as there was too much else going on – and I’d been mountain-biking!
There’s a cool playground down at the harbour – this slide is extremely steep, I managed to hold on to my dinner.
And the swings are bike-themed!
Boxing Day we loaded up vehicles with bikes and a big picnic and headed over to James & Adele’s section of pine trees and pond on the edge of Naseby. A few of us, me included, had not been over Dansey’s Pass in years – so we took the scenic route.
We passed a few bikepackers coming off or going up the pass (it was steep!) – my mind turned to planning big loops when I start to spend more time down here with family.
We stopped at the quaint Dansey’s Pass pub for a pint in the sun before carrying on.
Arriving at the section, there was much delight as Don had surreptitiously had the long driveway gravelled – it was far smoother.
Work has begun on James & Adele’s own mountain-bike track on their eight hectares. James showed it to me; while only in the first stage, it’s a great ride with some cool features.
I look forward to seeing how it develops and hopefully helping a bit too.
Picnic lunch was devoured before we headed up to the swimming dam.
The last time I was here – for the wedding week – the dam had been emptied for winter and I rode my bike across the floor. Not this time, as it was filled again and being enjoyed by many. However, most of us went biking. I had a great time chasing James through twisty singletrack, down some steep washes, through the trees and so on.
The lupins were out in force – after finishing the MTBing, I took Dad on a leisurely ride alongside the water race and came across this patch.
After a fantastic day hanging out in Naseby, we headed back over the pass.
Where we promptly sat around the brazier again, eating and drinking with family and friends.
Thanks to all for a great Christmas – particularly Adele & James for hosting us all so well.