Say hello to vine country and with that lots and lots of wine. Let me honest this is basically the Claudia version of Mecca so here it is all about my time in the Marlborough region.
Vines & Wines
Lets start at the one thing that absolutely everyone knows about Marlborough, the vineyards. After getting an early morning ferry across from Wellington we headed straight for our campsite in Spring Creek, Blenheim. This allowed us to see all the vineyards that were surrounding us where we camped by a cute little creek that was once again swarming with ducks hoping to grab a snack from all the campers.
This creek also had a cool feature as it had eels that were so tame, every time you went to the waters edge they all came out of their hiding places to catch one food that they were hoping you were going to toss over to them. We thought that they were really cool to start off with then they started to come up out of the water towards us and just freaked us out a little. They are weird creatures eels.
The next day we went on a little tour ourselves to see some of the vineyards and have a little tasting. It would be rude to not try some of the best new world wines after all. There is something called ‘the golden mile’ this is where you bicycle from cellar door to cellar door doing a tasting in as many vineyards as you like. It is a very good way to get around whilst stopping you from drinking and driving – all good things.
Then after you have drank enough you can always stop at any of these cellar doors and have an anti-pasto platter of cheese and cold meats, I think I was in heaven. The sun was shining and the wine was flowing with delicious selection of cheeses, not one bad thing in that list. Although not all of the wines were up to scratch, one vineyard we both had one tiny sip and decided that it was far too acidic for anyone to truly enjoy a glass of, Dad you would have been proud.
The next stop on the list was Nelson. The biggest city in this region and it isn’t big by any stretch of the imagination. Although we did have a good few hours walking around it, the centre had a few cute places to go around. Nelson has been voted the most liveable city in New Zealand, and we totally got why. It had a really chilled out vibe, whilst also having a lot of character and being on a beachfront is no bad thing in my book, ever.
There were lots of adorable cafes in the city as well, we found one called DeVille that was tucked around the back of the shopping street that was really lovely. With artistically designed outside seating that was perfect to shelter us form the wind whilst we had lunch. Nelson is also known as the craft-beer capital of NZ so if the vineyards don’t do it for you then I am sure you would be able to find things that you would delight in having a tipple of. We are not such fans of the hoppiness so we passed on the brewers but we heard great things about them.
Abel Tasman National Park
Abel Tasman National park is my favourite place that we have been. So high praise for New Zealand’s smallest national park. We got up early and drove to the park edge so that we had time to grab some coffee before heading to the kayaking company, to get ourselves set up before heading on the water. The trip that we had booked onto was to catch a boat to the shoreline where a few houses have been left standing in the national park. Walk from Torrent Bay to Bark Bay where we stopped to have lunch before catching the boat to Observation beach where the start of the kayaking began.
The sun was out in full force, I even got a little burnt on my shoulders but it was beautiful. Everything was beautiful, although the ocean waters were very deceptive. We thought that they were going to be warm due to the beautiful clear nature of it. However as soon as you put a toe into it you were rudely awakened to the fact that they were anything but warm. If we had more time I would have definitely done a two day kayaking trip. It was expensive but I think it was well worth the extra cost just to see the national park from both the land as well as the sea.
We had a really nice group that we kayaked with back into the village where we had left the van. We even sailed at one point. This is much harder than it looks when you are kayaking. We had six people in our group, meaning when we put all the kayaks together we were able to hold the boats together whilst the two outside kayaks held a big sheet up for the wind to catch and pull up along. It was a slow sail but nice, except when the wind dropped too much and the sail fell onto my head as I was at the front in the middle. It was funny for everyone else, but all I could see at that point was the black sail over my eyes.
I have to say that the time that we spent in Abel Tasman National park has so far been the best thing that we have done in New Zealand. I can’t wait for what the rest of summer has to come to see more of the natural beauty that is all around us here in the south island.