Blenheim / Picton

Finally finishing the New Zealand story with our end destination, Blenheim.

Sprawling over a flat area, Blenheim’s best viewing point is from the Wither Hills walkway looking towards the Richmond Ranges. This popular area hosts a number of tracks through a local farm. Some steep gradients will have you at a good vantage point with 15 minutes.

Wineries, the Marlborough Sounds, mussels, where do I stop. . Marlborough is synonymous with all of these and more. Cafes, restaurants, if you’re looking for food you won’t go hungry. We were on a very limited time span, however did manage to fit in a couple of places.

A quick catch up, called for breakfast at Speights Ale House Springlands.

Service was nice and adequate with interesting surroundings, plus we had a room to ourselves. Nice when you want to have a catch up. Food was definitely good quality and generous serves. We never had the opportunity to return for other meals but can definitely recommend breakfast.

Take a drive to Picton, either directly from Blenheim or via the Queen Charlotte drive and Havelock. With limited time, we did manage a quick trip to Picton for lunch. Cafe Cortado was the recommended choice for another enjoyable catch up. Located on the waterfront with a South American infused menu, lunch was enjoyable. Choosing an outside table with a view across to the Waterfront, we settled in for a nice lunch . Plenty to see here, with the daily life of locals and tourists alike unfolding before your eyes, with a pleasant sea breeze keeping the suns rays at bay.

Loved the fresh herbs in pots!

Service was adequate and meals arrived in good time. Pizza was popular today, plus I chose a very appetising salad. Well to be fair the trip is coming to end, you start to feel like it’s time to pull back.

As I said, time was limited on this trip. However when you visit take the time to visit the many places this region has to offer. No wineries in this trip, but if you have the opportunity to take in a winetasting or lingering lunch there’s many to choose from. Or take a boat trip down the sounds. Take your time and relax, there’s a lot to see!

A tribute to NZ’s South Island, pre-earthquake 2016

Time pushes on, never stopping, ticking away.  There are moments in time you wish you could capture, hold forever and never let go.  Memories of these moments live on, many times backed by our photos. When things change, we wish we could restore time to certain moments.

In the short three months since we visited the Marlborough region, taking the time to complete the drive to Kaikoura, so much of this area is now destroyed, moved metres not inches and unrecognisable as the beautiful rugged coastline it was.  Heartbreaking in itself.This drive has a constantly changing canvas.  From rolling hills topped with wind farm turbines, over bridges nestled between the ocean, railway tracks, farmland and hills.  Passing a coastline which became increasingly rugged.  Sandy smooth gravel stretching for miles before  morphing  to rough, sharp edged rocks.  A few twists and turns requiring low speed only as both grass covered hillsides and rocky outcrops line the highway opposite the ocean.  Here there is nowhere to go except follow the winding road.   There’s a moment I call the wow moment.  You round a sweeping bend, released from the ocean and rocks for a while, to a straight road where snow topped mountains rise majestically in the distance.It’s breathtaking.  Photos cannot do justice to the sheer magnificent beauty of this scene. Undeniably one of the biggest Wow moments on any drive.  

Having left the ocean for a while, you follow the easy road into Kaikoura.  A township which has retained the old, sprinkled with a smattering of the new.  A foreshore with amazing vistas out to endless ocean, and back up the coast where you recently passed through.The memories and photos we have will remain with us into the future.   Our heartfelt thoughts are with everyone this has affected, and still does.  Those who have had their lives and livelihoods destroyed in a mere few minutes, those who will be affected by the devestation for years to come, and those who have done even the smallest thing to assist these friendly people and their beautiful area.

We hope the mainstay of tourism does not suffer long term and tourists continue to visit.   In an area which has so much natural beauty to offer, it’s important tourists continue to support.   Let’s hope these seals return to restablish their colony in the area.

Kia Kaha.