If you love wine and gourmet food like my husband and I do, then you’ll want to hear all about our trip to New Zealand.
It’s such a short journey to our neighbouring country that we thought – why not? A relaxing holiday full of good food and wine was just what the doctor ordered.
We flew to New Zealand and arrived in Auckland city. From there, we embarked on a short, 50 minute flight south to the capital city of Wellington.
Even if Windy Welly isn’t your final destination, it’s worth spending a day enjoying its flavours. It’s a very compact and visitor-friendly capital where it is easy to walk around and there are plenty of cafes and restaurants for when you need a break!
For lunch it’s a great idea to head to the renowned Fidel’s Cafe and try the Havana coffee on offer in the beautiful sun, sheltered from the city’s infamous wind.
To begin your South Island adventure, you can catch the ferry from Wellington to Picton, one of the gateways to the south. It can be a bumpy ride – the Cook Strait between the north and south islands is known for being particularly rough and rugged and our journey was no exception! However it is definitely an adventure and luckily John and I managed to find our sea legs pretty quickly.
Food and wine in the Marlborough region
The lovely seaside town of Picton is friendly and welcoming. If you are there for good food and wine the locals will quickly point out that you’re in the right place! The Marlborough region of the South Island – that encompasses Picton – is one of the country’s most revered wine growing districts.
From Picton, you can hire a car and drive a little further south to Blenheim, to travel around as many vineyards and delectable restaurants as you can find.
Soon we discovered that Marlborough is particularly famous for its Sauvignon Blanc, which we first tried at Auntsfield Estate. This is Marlborough’s first colonial vineyard and winery, established in 1873 so is a pretty special stop on the New Zealand wine circuit. Savour a couple of glasses in the midday sun, gazing at the breathtaking hillside surroundings.
Cloudy Bay vineyard is another notable stop, one of the first five wineries to be established in the region. Now there are over a hundred to choose from, but we loved this one especially due to its outstanding vibrant flavours. Here you can enjoy the outdoor wine lounge with its light lunch menu and in the afternoon savour a Cellar Door tasting before a game of petanque in the courtyard.
There are so many more amazing things to do in Marlborough, apart from enjoying the local fare, which we didn’t do, such as cruising the Marlborough Sounds, going on hikes and experiencing the local wildlife. For us, though, this trip was about relaxation, food and wine.
But considering our trip to New Zealand was so successful, we’ll have to come back soon to do the rest!