New Zealand: Rai Valley

Rai Valley, South Island – April 9 to April 11, 2017

We arrived in the Rai Valley on Sunday afternoon and were greeted by the Airbnb host, Fiona, her cute little daughter, Anna, their dachshund, Snoopy, and their 2 guinea pigs, Jack and Jill II. 🙂  (The baby brother, Conrad, was napping, so we met him later.)

Anna, despite being just a preschooler, invited G and L to play on their trampoline. 🙂 G was invited in to play Barbies, so Mike and L through a rugby ball around for a while. After a bit, Fiona, Anna, G, and L were going to go down the road to feed the chickens. Unfortunately, the stroller for Conrad didn’t cooperate.  All moms encounter a stubborn stroller at one time or another, but this time the stroller got the best of Fiona’s finger. 🙁  In addition to getting some ice and making sure the bleeding stopped, we postponed feeding the chickens.  But it gave us a little time to hang out with Fiona, Anna and baby Conrad. 🙂

“Our” house and cute little rental car!
Playing a little rugby!
Hanging out with Anna and Conrad. 🙂

Once things calmed down a bit, Mike grilled some delicious salmon for dinner against a beautiful backdrop of the surrounding hills!


The next morning, G and L worked on some Easter crafts while Mike was serious about getting some work done…or just giving a crabby face to the photographer.

We headed into Havelock, the “Greenshell Mussel Capital of the World”, to see about going for a walk and checking out the town, which was about 15 minutes down the road.  We stopped into the i-Site for some maps and suggestions and found that stuff along with a “museum” of animals and fish from area! Some were more realistic than others! 🙂

Before heading out on our walk, we decided to get a quick snack.  What else do you get for a snack the Greenshell Mussel Capital of the World — mussels of course! 🙂  We stopped at The Mussel Pot and got a sample platter of breaded, marinated, pickled, smoked, and steamed ones.  It was the perfect size for us as we all got to try them but didn’t need heaps of them.  For the most part, we all liked them more than we had expected!

How cool is this fish made of mussel shells??  And if you don’t know how to eat them, a handy sign is hanging on the wall.  Later we learned a few things about them including that they are a super food — really high in protein, omega-3, and minerals, and low in fat.

Our hike took us up a very narrow path to a waterfall and an scenic view over the Pelorus Sound. It felt like we were walking through a type of rain forest with huge ferns (some as tall as trees!) and mossy surfaces.

After the hike, we walked down to the marina to check out the boats.  Although you can’t see it in the photo, there was a faint strip of a rainbow in this little wisp of a cloud!  It was super cool as there wasn’t a raindrop in the sky, so we’re not sure what caused it.

G on the old steam engine in front of the Havelock Museum.

There was a beautiful moon rise that night, which is hard to capture in pictures, but we tried.

A couple of culinary notes from our stay in the Rai Valley:

Mike enjoys picking out wine, beer, or cider in the lower price bracket to see what we can find without spending a lot.  This one was only about $7 and was fabulous!  It’s one of the BEST red wines we’ve had! It was easy to drink — smooth and velvety!

A little while after we returned from Havelock, Fiona stopped over with a plate of steamed mussels for us!  When we initially arrived for our stay, we were talking about mussels and said we hadn’t tried them before.  She offered to make some for us, which was so nice!  She steamed them and them served them with bacon and garlic butter!  They were absolutely DELICIOUS!  By far the best tasting ones we’ve had!!  (She may need to share her recipe with The Mussel Pot!)

Later that evening, Fiona and Anna knocked on our door with homemade apple pie made with apples from their garden and a bowl of homemade whipped cream!!  It was FANTASTIC!!

While it was a short stay, we had a lovely time and enjoyed the hospitality of our host and family!  Next stop — Picton!

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