Gateway to the South Island

Trip Start Feb 12, 2011
Trip End Jul 09, 2011

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tombstone backpackers

Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Friday, March 25, 2011

Hello all!!

Ok so just a mini update, you can see on the map that the route the ferry takes through the queen charlotte sounds, so beautiful and wiggly on its way to picton after the rough trip across the sea..

We arrived in on the ferry, clambered down the stairs, got rushed off in a coach to collect our baggage and before we knew it there was a van outside that said tombstone on it! in we jumped and drove...around the corner!! haha! bless them they didnt want to walk with our bags but we could see it from the ferry!! ahh nice people.  the hostel was lovely, (named tombstone due to the cemetry across the road) it was spread over a few buildings, really open plan and friendly with as much free tea and coffee as you like (boy i miss tea!) and everymorning a FREE breakfast with fresh homemade scones that the lady was up making at 7 everymorning!!! so friendly, met several really cool people from canada and others from all over. Views looked out over the harbour with plenty of deck space for sunbathing and even a hot pool looking out over the views - incredible!

Wednesday evening we pottered around the tini town that is picton, so cute, little cafes and shops leading down to the water front, houses here and there and forests all around.  We spent the rest of the evening chilling in the hostel after cooking dinner, it was just such a nice place to be, and meeting people.

Thursday was our only full day in picton so the morning we enjoyed our wonderful free breakfast, another quick walk around and then planned the next few days of the trip, booking buses etc, before heading off on a wine tour!!!! woop yes we did! marlborough is the wine region, just down the road from picton the vineyards start - 108 in total!!! Our driver knew so much about all the wineries and how its made, plus was super funny, there was only 3 of us on this one so we got to know the canadian girl quite well, and really got to chat to the owners and try everything we could.  In each place we would pull in, have a bit of a look round, go to the desk and they would pull out all of the wines for tasting, as we sipped each one (you got several big gulps of them all amount wise - but for lady purposes we sipped them!) they told us all about the wine and some asked for our descriptions of it before we saw their ones, we got pretty good at describing - one even said i may have a wine nose - i could detect the smokey flavour when the others couldnt - pretty cool!

As we were driving to each vineyard, vines were all you could see in every direction it was amazing! we found as we tasted more and more i have preferences - i feel like a little wine connoisseur, i have a taste more medium palate pinot noir and meduim to sweet pinot the dessert wine - delicious!!! like drinking sugar syrup, steve couldnt stomach it but i thought it was wonderful.  Its fair to say we were rather tipsey by the end of the day, and unfortunately i had to only have a few sips of each and start tipping the rest away by the end! i had to focus on standing straight and not swaying and concentrating on my words (there were notices at each place saying you wouldnt be served if you were drunk and i couldnt risk that!!). Each place was so friendly, some we got to try their grapes, others provided crackers and water (thank goodness!) some were small and family run, others export all around the world.  One of them was called Vavasour (pronouced - vava - saw), they had a limited edition vintage wine called claudia after the owners daughter as he said it was something a bit special (the only sav blanc i really enjoyed that day!), so we treated ourselves to a bottle and had it on friday...

On getting back to the hostel all 3 of us had to lie down, haha but we soon came round and pottered into town looking for something to soak up the and chips as we watched over the little harbour and out to the marlbourgh sounds under the palm trees, beautiful!

Friday we woke surprisingly chirpy, i thought i would be a tad fragile! another wonderful fresh breakfast before we packed up, checked out, said goodbye to everyone we had met and headed into town, a lovely hot day, we poked our nose into bookshops (becoming a big hobby of ours, i love the smell of all the books, and some of the shops are so cute with lots of hiddy holes and corners) looked in little gifty shops, had lunch in a gorgeous little cafe (the dog and the frog! haha!) before heading to the bus stop.

More next time, lots of love to everyone,
P xxxxxxxxxxxxx
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Hazel Genner on

So glad you enjoyed Picton - we found it a lovely place, & that Wine Tour must have been so-o-o funny by the end of it! Where is our more serious-minded grand-daughter??

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