A Travellerspoint blog

Wine wine and more wine please

overcast 19 °C
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Sunday morning saw us leave Wellington and the North Island behind to make the ferry crossing to Picton on South Island. The ferry had to squeeze through several spectacularly narrow channels as we approached Picton, thankfully the captain wasn't Italian...(sorry Paola)

Another fabulous stay at the Marlborough Vintners Hotel near Blenheim, which, as the name suggests, is in the middle of the wine region.  In fact, we had rows of vines just yards from the door of the studio.  Taking advantage of the numerous vineyards on the doorstep, we joined a wine tasting trip.  We think it was a great afternoon but can't remember much beyond the third winery (hic).

Chris drooling over next year's Sauvignon blanc</p><p>Today we went to the other attraction that Blenheim is famous for the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre (yes really). With original and replica WW1 planes, uniforms, memorabilia and stories from the period, this has been put together with the support of Peter Jackson (LoTR Director) who apparently provided some special effects  (Nail would love it). For those of you who are a bit nervous about flying in modern, hi tech planes, you should see what passed as an airplane 100 years ago!</p><p>Travelling down to Kaikoura this afternoon, we have seen fur seals along the coastline, and tried out a crayfish from a roadside caravan - think giant meaty prawns.  We've also had a long walk around the peninsula - the views are superb but the feet are aching now.</p><p>[img=http://photos.travellerspoint.com/452042/IMAG0388.jpg

Chris drooling over next year's Sauvignon blanc

Today we went to the other attraction that Blenheim is famous for the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre (yes really). With original and replica WW1 planes, uniforms, memorabilia and stories from the period, this has been put together with the support of Peter Jackson (LoTR Director) who apparently provided some special effects  (Nail would love it). For those of you who are a bit nervous about flying in modern, hi tech planes, you should see what passed as an airplane 100 years ago!

Travelling down to Kaikoura this afternoon, we have seen fur seals along the coastline, and tried out a crayfish from a roadside caravan - think giant meaty prawns.  We've also had a long walk around the peninsula - the views are superb but the feet are aching now.

[img=http://photos.travellerspoint.com/452042/IMAG0388.jpg

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Finally, I just wanted to wish my sister Caroline a very happy birthday, and to wish my uncle Raymond a happy birthday and retirement, both on the 14th Feb.  X

Posted by ChrisMWilk 20:20 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Sunshine, Sails and Stinky Springs

sunny 24 °C

At last the chance to put something down for our first few days. Sorry no photos but hope to be able to download some soon.

Yes it is a very long flight, and due to my fight with a yoghurt pot, I was not a pleasant sight in Sydney airport on Wednesday morning. Thankfully though, all the flights were on time, we caught them all, and ended up in Auckland at 2pm on Wednesday afternoon. The rest of that day was spent staying awake and seeing as much of Auckland as we could. A trip up the Sky Tower was a must, especially as we were staying in the hotel attached. This proved to be the highlight of the afternoon, with 360 deg views and the chance to see how Auckland is located between two superb bays, with yachts everywhere, proving that the City of Sails is well named. The tower gave us the chance to see the other attractions of Auckland that we didn't have time to visit. Sadly we couldn't keep awake to sample much of the nightlife and were snoring by 9pm.

Thursday morning started early with my phone ringing at 5.30am (4.30pm UK time). Needless to say I didn't answer it, but we took advantage of the early start and picked up our hire car (a Toyoto Corrolla since you ask), and headed out of the city. Deciding that our next stop was achievable by lunchtime, we decided on a Martin detour (some will know what I mean here!). The roads are clear and driving on the left is a major advantage, but where are all the motorhomes that we were told was the favourite form of transport for touring? We headed east to the Bay of Plenty and admired the golden sands and turquoise sea, fronted by the cream of NZ's real estate. I know where I'm buying a holiday home when the lottery comes up.

Heading in Rotoura, our next stop turned out to be a cracker. Perched on the edge of Lake Rotoura with gardens running down to the lake, our Lodge is first class. Taking advantage of loungers in the garden, we spent a happy couple of hours in the sunshine (did I tell you it's been sunny here since our arrival, average 24-25 deg). We had to drive into Rotoura for our evening meal and managed to forget our way back to the car afterwards, but got there eventually.

Today we have visited two Thermal resorts: Whakarewarewa, where the tour showed us through a Maori village with boiling pools, hot springs, and a geyser, Pohutu, which erupts around 20 times a day. The Maori use the boiling water for cooking and bathing, and we were treated to a traditional show, including the haka, which was excellent. The second thermal resort, Hell's Gate was a complete contrast, a stark, bleak landscape full of boiling mud and water. The smell of sulphur, while constant at the first resort, was strong and sometimes overpowering. We had to keep to the paths everywhere - even the ground underneath our feet felt hot. Needless to say, Martin thought this was fabulous, but I preferred the earlier visit.

Well I think that's enough for now. Hope to send you some more in 2 or 3 days.

C&M

Posted by ChrisMWilk 01:02 Archived in New Zealand Comments (2)

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