Saturday, October 13, 2018

Quick Tour of Marlborough, New Zealand

 We were last in New Zealand on this blog back in June. Tonight I decided to share with you another portion of our two week trip to New Zealand. It is now almost exactly six months since we were there and because NZ is in the southern hemisphere we here in the USA are now seasonally at the same time of year, early autumn, as it was when we were driving round the upper half of the South Island.

The June blog entry had us leave Kaikoura and we drove north along the coastal route 1 still encountering damage from the earthquake. But some miles north of Kekerengu the route starts to veer inland.
 Once you cross the Awatere river bridge at Seddon it is clear you are in a different region. We stopped for a quick look at the historic double decker road rail bridge. This level was the road level.

In the shot above the railroad portion is still in use today but the road portion, below this level, has been replaced with a new bridge.
 Looking out the car windows we were now seeing well kept vineyards nestled in the Awatere valley and sheltered by the hills. Continuing on we arrived at our overnight stop in Blenheim.
 The next morning it was necessary to get a prompt start as we needed to be in Nelson by the end of the day. But this is the prime Marlborough wine country that produces my favorite Sauvignon Blanc wines so we were first going to make some calls to the cellar doors. Our first stop, right at 9am was to the beautiful Alan Scott vineyard. The day was bright and sunny and perfect for strolling among the vines even if the harvest had already taken place.
Again we see the vineyards growing on flat land surrounded by hills that shelter the area.
 Just up from the Alan Scott vineyard was Matua but alas, they do not host public tours. However I show it here because the trees were at the same almost peak of autumn colors that we should be in here in VA this week.
 For a third stop we had selected a vineyard that also had a cafe where we thought we'd have brunch. But it was not to be. After hanging around for 30 minutes waiting while other customers were being given the full tasting we decided we really could not wait any longer so we got back on the road. However, I wanted to show you yet another example of how beautiful many of these wineries are. the buildings are modern and well kept and the landscaping often includes well kept gardens with sculptures and more.
 Motoring on we came to Havelock and decided this was a great spot to stop for lunch. The driver was able to indulge in a bowl of green lip mussels totally fresh from the water very close by.
 Our next stop was at the Pelorus Bridge Scenic Reserve. If you are a fan of the Hobbit movies a scene where the dwarves were filmed floating down river in barrels for the movie The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug was right here.
 Do you think this sign might be just a little understated?
 We were keenly watching out for the birdlife on this trip and were rewarded at this stop with many sightings of the piwakawaka aka fantail. The driver was hoping to see the fantail in full display but these little birds are very busy flitting here and there at great speed and by the time you find them the tail has been spread and folded in again. But I was lucky to catch this one before it flew off once more.
 The bushwalks were a glorious vibrant green delight.
 The swing bridge takes a bit of getting used to and we decided it was less scary if we went just one at a time.
Once you pause in the center of the bridge and wait for the swaying to stop you can enjoy a beautiful view. Just look at the color of that water.

If you go to Marlborough do allow several days to really see this gorgeous part of New Zealand. We were on a timetable however and needed to be in Nelson by that night for a several day stopover so I could attend a family wedding.

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