An American chick I work with told me about the Arrowtown Autumn Festival. She said it was a must see and that if i were ever missing a North American Autumn, with the beautiful colored trees, then we should go there. So, i got on the internet and looked up the Festival and it looked like loads of fun (http://www.arrowtownautumnfestival.org.nz/)! It was on from 12-21 April. It so happened that Simon had a mate from Auckland going to Wanaka for the EPIC Mt Bike race around Lake Hawea on the 20th (http://www.lakehaweaepic.co.nz/), so we decided to go the second weekend of the festival so we could catch up with Brett at the same time.
So, that was a real big bummer. A bonus is that we learned that the FIRST weekend is the weekend that is buzzing and full of things for kids (such as bouncy castles, face painting, street performers etc). So, next year we will make another attempt on the right weekend!
It wasn't a total loss of a weekend. We spent a good while walking around the Chinese Settlement and Arrow River. Then we drove about an hour to Lake Hawea to find Brett. We stayed up in the Lake Hawea area for the rest of the day (at the pub to stay dry where the Mt Bike Event finish was) before heading back to Arrowtown to find something to eat. One thing I will say is that the cafe/restaraunt/pub scene is really great in Arrowtown! There is no shortage! This is a HUGE change from 6 years ago when we visited with my parents.
If you ever go to Arrowtown, Festival time or not, and need an affordable place to stay, we stayed at the Arrowtown Holiday Park. We got the Autumn Special Studio Cabin and it was basic, but plenty of room for a family of three. The hardest part was getting Bodie to bed and asleep without having a seperate room for him. The second night we put him on the bottom bunk and put up towels and blankets on the sides of the bed to block out the light. Took about an hour or so for him to go to sleep, but at least it seemed like we had some adult time! http://www.arrowtownholidaypark.co.nz/accommodation/accommodation.htm
I want to go back to the Arrowtown area in the summer b/c the Mt Biking tracks look really awesome! They also have these heli tours you can do. Where you go up in a Helicopter and enjoy an 18km downhill Mt bike ride! Amazing part of the Otago Region, for sure!
On the way home on Sunday we stopped by the AJ Hacket Bungy jumping. Not to bungy jump but to spectate. Bodie giggled really loud watching the people jump from bridge, then asked if he could do it. Guess in 7 years time we'll be watching him jump off? But if you are a thrill seeker, this is the World's home of bungy jumping, the birthplace and is a 43 m drop (140 ft) over a gorge. Beautiful gorge too! They also have a zip line. Maybe when Bodie is 10 we'll take part in some these thrilling activities! http://www.bungy.co.nz/kawarau-bungy-centre
I will leave you with some photographs of the weekend.
This is an old out house from the late 1800s!