Blenheim, Marlborough wine country
Trip Start Nov 16, 2005
36Trip End Apr 11, 2006
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We had a wonderful drive from Akaroa to Blenheim through Kaikoura (whale watching mecca). Kaikoura is on a peninsula jutting out from the coastline. We did not go on a whale watch as the sea was too rough and I do not have good sea legs!! We saw lots of fur seals and dolphins along the route - there were lots of look-out places. There used to be whaling stations in the past in this area but now it is a tourist attraction. We had lunch in Hislops in Kaikoura which was excellent - all organic and home-cooked.
It was a long drive to Blenheim but a very scenic route by the sea. We checked in to our BBH - The Grapevine - we were given a room in the family home as the main building was full. We had a lovely room with our own private bathroom and really comfortable beds.
Blenheim is the largest town in Marlborough and they were all out in their cars when we drove into town - the traffic was horrendous - for NZ! We were spoiled with the lovely wide carless roads until we arrived in Blenheim. This is THE wine region in Marlborough. Next morning we set off to the Tourist Information Office - our usual first port of call - and picked up the map of the wine trail - we narrowed the field to the following wineries - Wither Hills, St. Clair, Alan Scott, Shingle Peak, Wairau River and Cloudy Bay - the best was Wither Hills and St. Clair - the Marlborough Annual Wine Festival was on that week-end and they were expecting 15,000 on Saturday for the event - now I know why the town was full of cars!! We did not go to the festival as you have to pay NZ$40 to get in (most of the wineries have a stand there) and then pay for every tasting and food on top of that - we decided to do our own tour and it was the best choice - we had the wineries to ourselves - it was like having a private tour of each vineyard! Really enjoyable. If you want a decent Sauv. Blanc look no further than NZ.
We left Blenheim and set off for Nelson which was our stop for that night.