Posted by: The Travelling Mallorys | March 9, 2011

The Tip Top of the South Island, Abel Tasman National Park and the Marlborough Wine Region, New Zealand


Yep, you know who was getting more excited the nearer we got to the tippety top of the South Island, and therefore nearer to her spiritual home, the Marlborough Wine Region!

Well actually, it is your favourite wine that comes from there isn’t it?

Oh yeah!

But first dear readers, we departed the fair city of Greymouth with heavy hearts…only joking! We dove onto the bus yelling, drive, man, drive! But do you know what, our driver had forgotten 2 of his passengers, so just as we cleared the Greymouth border, we had to turn around and go back!!! Would have been funny if it wasn’t so excruciating!

Anyway, we did finally make it out, and our next stop was 6 hours later in sunny Nelson. We stayed in the Lovebug room at The Bug backpackers, a cool and classy backpackers.

For once!

Yes dear.

Dinner at The Bug

Dinner at The Bug

We came to Nelson as it is the gateway to Abel Tasman National Park. The wife had been there, on her last trip to New Zealand, way back in her youth.


He he. Yep, she loved it when she came with Jane Proudfoot, nee Shaw.

We did, and I was really looking forward to it. We were so lucky it was a beautiful day. We set out on a boat trip to the park. Why do I keep ending up on boats in the sea, I asked myself as my tummy lurched. But no fear, I was not seasick this time! Am I getting my sea legs at last?

We arrived at a little slice of paradise!

Let's get down there and into the sea!

Let's get down there and into the sea!

Lots of people come to Abel Tasman for the great walking, you know like 3 day treks and so forth.

But with our muscles still aching from the glacier, we decided to take it a bit easy. We saw this and thought, that’s the walk for us!

10 minutes - that sounds do-able

10 minutes - that sounds Malloryable

Turned out to be a great move, as we found this beach and we were the only people on it for most of the morning, which was handy as we both had to change into our swimmers.

Little Kaiteriteri Beach - gorgeous!

Little Kaiteriteri Beach - gorgeous!

We spent the day swimming, reading, sunbathing, strolling and munching. Perfect relaxation. We found another cool little beach later in the day.

As we walked along the beach we saw this amazing white house on a secluded beach across the bay. I mean, talk about Location, Location, Location??!!! Who lives in a house like this??

White house on the beach - lush!

White house on the beach - lush!

So all in all a brilliant day out, even without all the tramping and rambling and hiking!

Next up was Blenheim, heart of Marlborough. We arrived at our hostel, which was a really huge, old, converted house, kind of like the one I want to live in when I grow up!

We said to the people running it, no messing, what’s the best wine tour? And then we booked onto it. Then to get in the mood we sat out on the deck overlooking the river and drank some vino.

We were interrupted by the third person that day to tell me she had the same top as me! She then proceeded to grill us on our trip so far, be racist about Chesham and tell us she wouldn’t pay money to go on a wine tour. Ah, you really meet some great travellers!

But the next day when we saw her she said she was going on a wine tour after all, what a weirdo!

And so to the tour. We were picked up at 10am in the morning and whisked to our first vineyard. You would know it as Montana, but they are rebranding to Brandcott.

We got seven generous tastings of all the biggies: Sauvignon Blanc, of course, some Pinot Noir, Reisling and one of our new faves, Gewurtztraminer. Mmmmm. Nothing like drinking at 10.15am!

Drinking wine at 10.15. Wish I could say it was the first time!

Drinking wine at 10.15. Wish I could say it was the first time!

So the day was set. We ended up visiting 8 different wineries in total, which is a great achievement! We also discovered a delicious wine that Gavin snaffled up after our tasting.

My new favourite wine

My new favourite wine

Toru! From the Te Whaere Ra vineyard, owned by a lovely lady and her no doubt lovely husband, who have 2 sets of twins! The wine is a blend between Riesling, Gewurtz and Pinot Gris. A taste sensation my friends! Maybe you can get it in Waitrose back home.

Another great reason to be allowed to go there!

Not you!

Erin enjoying a(nother) glass

Erin enjoying a(nother) glass

Our sun drenched, wine soaked adventure in Blenhiem was the perfect end to our 8 weeks in the South Island. We have seen dramatic coastlines, imposing mountains, huge gorges, a mystical Sound, climbed a glacier, seen some whales, frolicked in the sea, experienced Arsenal beat Barcelona, then lose to Barcelona, and met some great people along the way.

We have also been here for the shock and sadness that followed the devastating earthquake in Christchurch. Our thoughts have been with the friends we made during our 3 weeks in that beautiful city, and we hope and know that Christchurch will recover.

So it’s goodbye to the South, and hello to the North. We took the ferry (aaaargh, another boat) for the 3 hour crossing of the Cooks Strait to Wellington. The ominous announcement, “We are sorry to report that conditions in the strait are less than favourable, staff will be passing through with motion sickness bags and cups of ice.” OH FANTASTIC!

Before it got choppy

Before it got choppy

But she had her nose stuck into The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest and I heard not a peep out of her for the whole trip! She was even reading away at baggage collection when we arrived!

So distraction is the key for sea sickness…

Wellington beckons. We are here for 2 weeks, renting a room in the Lower Hutt. We’ll be in touch again soon to let you know if the North Island is as good as Erin remembers!

Don’t forget about Worthing versus New Zealand’s South Island and you can see our photos on Flickr. You can even put it on a slideshow and look at them all if you have a spare weekend and your telly’s broken.

If that’s not enough excitement we’ve also updated the map page as well as travelling by numbers and the top tips so you can fill yourself up with Travelling Mallory excitement! You’re welcome x


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