NZ Land Logs 10 Year 2: South Island–St. Arnaud in Marlborough Wine Country
Date: Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Weather in Marlborough Region: Cloudy with Temps in the 60’s
Location: St. Arnaud, Nelson Lakes Region, New Zealand

It was up before dawn this morning in order to get to the ferry terminal. We had a reservation on the 8:30 AM ferry but you have to be in line ready to load at least an hour before departure time. At exactly 8:30, the Interisland Ferry pulled away from the dock in Wellington and by 11:30 AM we were in Piction on the South Island. During the last hour of the ferry ride, we were calmly winding our way through the islands in the Marlborough Sound, but the motion during the first part of the trip was not quite as calm. You could definitely feel the Pacific swell in Cook’s Sound. But even with the uneven motion, soon after take-off we were all busy with various computer projects. Before we knew it, it was time to disembark.

>From Picton, the ferry destination on the South Island, we drove a few miles south to Blenheim to do some last minute shopping. We needed windshield wipers for our van as the ones on it were quickly disintegrating. We also picked up a few groceries and then we were off to the vineyards. There are more than 50 wineries and acres and acres of vineyards in the Marlborough Region, so we had to choose just a few to visit today. We started at the Matua Vineyard and tasted their Savignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. Neither passed our taste tests, but we really enjoyed walking through the vineyard. Then it was on to the Wairau River Vineyard. This vineyard is across the road from Nautilus. We wished he had made a Pinot Noir tasting reservation at that vineyard, but we had not and had to forgo that taste test. At Wairau, we had a late lunch and it was absolutely scrumptuous. I had mussell chowder with toasted herb bread, Mark had prawn, tomatoe, and preserved lemon spaghattini, Helaine had blue cheese souffle with a pear and hazelnut salad, and Alan had smoked salmon steak and potato augratin with wasabi mayonnaise and a salad. We each had a glass of the wine recommended to accompany our lunch and we truly enjoyed the experience. And the Wairau River Savignon Blanc 2006 certainly satisfied my taste palette.

Next we visited the Cloudy Bay Vineyard where Alan and Helaine bought a couple of bottles of Gewurztraminer. That was our choice of wine to have with the curry dinner we had planned for the evening and we did certainly enjoy it. We made a necessary stop at the Makana Chocolate Factory, visited one more vineyard, and then drove about an hour to the Nelson Lakes area. On the way we saw more vineyards and drove into the mountains where logging is a way of life. All through New Zealand we have seen whole mountains completely clear cut and then reforested with baby trees. At first we were wondering why trees in New Zealand grow in straight rows, but we quickly figured it out. Many of the mountains in the Nelson Lakes area have been replanted recently, so it was easy to see the young forests developing.

We had reservations at the Nelson Lakes Motel and were very pleasantly surprised when we got there. We were in log cabins that were virtually new, actually had two bedrooms instead of all four of us sleeping in one room, plus we had a full kitchen and living room with a TV! We had dinner and then did photo slide shows sharing with each other the pictures we have taken to date on this fantastic adventure. Tomorrow we drive down the coast to the Franz Josef and Fox Glacier areas where we will have our first glacier expedition.

070228 Web Pics–Wellington to St. Arnaud