Sunday, March 6, 2011

Marlborough: Drink and hike responsibly

After a rough ferry ride from Wellington to cross over to the south Island, we arrived in the Marlborough area, famous for its wineries (mostly whites like Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Gris) and the beautiful marloborough sounds coastline. We went back to a hostel we had really liked 5 years ago and set out to take the day and visit the wineries to do some wine tasting. I say 'we' but in that case it was mostly Denise who did the tasting, while I was doing the driving. Given that she's a lot more into wines than me, it made sense.

Driving through the area felt very familiar (except for the driving-on-the-wrong-side-of-the-road thing) since we were close to wineries, small hills and nice sun. It's pretty much like Napa valley or the south of France.

We got to stop at a few wineries, most of which were small family-owned places. It gave them some charm as we got to talk directly to the people making the wine. We also discovered a couple very good wines that we took with us to drink through the remainder of the New Zealand part of our trip (since then we've drank them, and yes, they were really good!)
All in all, a nice and relaxed afternoon that also gave us the opportunity to answer some of your challenges.

Beer testing at the wineries

The next day we wanted to go hike part of the famous Queen Charlotte track, a 4 day hike that goes along the Queen Charlotte sounds, a beautiful coastline nearby. We had hiked on it already last time and had gone to a beautiful viewpoint.

5 years ago already
 We didn't really remember where we had been, but we knew we wanted to go somewhere else.
After debating on our best options with the local park people, we set out to one of the midpoints of the track, to try to reach a different view point.
Alas. as we pulled in the small parking lot it started to look awfully familiar... We had picked exactly the same hike as 5 years ago, while we were specifically trying to avoid it!
Thankfully, going in a different direction we could still reach a different lookout and do a different hike, which is what we did.
It was beautiful and very quiet, a very relaxing hike before we set out for the next part of our trip.

A cloud looking like the New Zealand emblem, the silver fern

A friend we met along the way, that gave Denise a big scare, and me a big laugh

View Marlborough in a larger map

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