Well, good riddance 2017. We try to remain positive when writing these blogs but now that the year is behind us we can honestly say that 2017 on the whole was pretty shit, and we're glad to see the back of it.
It's true there were some highlights, such as the brewer's guild awards and a few successful festivals, but on the whole it has been a struggle. The road closures caused a massive drop in visitor numbers and there were many days when we didn't see a single person down here. It was hard mentally as well as financially. Add to that a couple of personal bereavements and it really wasn't our year.
That was until Friday 15th December...
One year, one month, and one day after the 2016 earthquake THE ROAD OPENED!
Celebrations began the night before with an awesome firework display put on by NCTIR and some of the other companies involved in the road re-build, it was one of the best fireworks shows we've ever seen so it was a real treat, thanks all!
The NCTIR crew also had their own well earned celebrations the following night and we helped show our appreciation by teaming up with them to brew a beer for the occasion. This involved a mad rush to get 1000 bottles filled and labelled in a short time frame and of course our fancy new bottling machine decided this would be a good time to break down! Still, we managed to get them all done in time so that all the workers could be presented with their own bottle of 'NCTIR Nectar'. It went down a treat apparently.
The road itself is amazing and it's great to be able to travel north and see how the coastline has changed as a result of the earthquake, it's really interesting. Undoubtedly though, the biggest plus is the sheer number of visitors that have now descended on our town, it's brilliant! We have never seen the place so busy, and business owners all over town are setting new sales records on a daily basis, us included! We had a few days this week where we've seen more than 70 mini golfers! We're selling heaps of beer through our rigger station too, on Christmas eve we went through 50 litres, a vast improvement on last years measly 4!
There is still plenty of work to be done on the roads so we won't be fare-welling our Hi-Vis friends for a while yet but the difference they have made already is huge and we are entirely grateful. Kaikoura has a new positive vibe to it and we are loving it!
So screw you 2017, you may have ended on a high but 2018 is going to kick your ass!