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Anna's New Zealand adventures

A Martin's Month in Martinborough- and our arrival on the South Island

NEW ZEALAND | Wednesday, 2 April 2008 | Views [623] | Comments [2]

Sorry it has been so long since my last blog entry- I thought it best to wait till I'd finished work before I told you how it went!

From Napier we travelled down to the Waiarapa wine region (well 4 of us did, James decided to head straight to Wellington to get a job there) and pitched up at a lovely campsite in a town called Martinborough. We all fell in love with the town which was very pretty and more importantly had a really good bar in the hotel there! It is was a bit twee as at the weekend all the Wellingtonians drive up and go wine tasting, but during the week it is quiet and I don't object to the nice cafes and deli that caters for them! Anyway, on our first night Pip and Tom took their instruments with them to the bar to play- they went down a storm and before we knew it, they were booked to play on St. Paddy's night and we'd all virtually been offered jobs on the vineyards! It seemed perfect so we extended our stay on the campsite and settled down to buisness (after a day of touring the vineyards on bikes for free samples- very fun even if I did have to have a lie down in the afternoon!). After ringing round a few of the no.s of vineyards we'd been given, we were employed by a winery called Te Kairanga- one of the largest in Martinborough. The work could be a bit boring at times, but easy - mostly involved walking along vines trimming offf second set grapes to allow the others to ripen fully. We did have a few funny moments: one day when Clare and I were sitting on the back of the trailer being pulled by a quadbike driven by Pip, we suddenly found ourselves sailing past the said quad bike at great speed, much to Pip's confusion and our consturnation as we realised the trailer had come off- luckily a nearby vine halted our progress and no harm was done!

All the guys at the vineyard were lovely (Pip aptly described them as rough diamonds) and on our last day they gaves us a bbq to say bye, which we certainly weren't expecting after 3 weeks working there. Rick, the kind of foreman was a characature of himself- he would pull up in his ute, wearing a leather jacket and hat, lean out of his window and have a quick look at the vines, fag dangling from mouth, nod and drive on... but we loved him!

At the St. Patrick's night gig, the manager of the hotel offered us a place to stay at his- a lovely little cottage a few kms out of town, up a dirt track which was often covered in sheep and had views across rolling vines and hills behind. At night it was so dark your eyes couldn't adjust and the skies were the best I've seen so far and N.Z. has some amazing skies. Jonny and his wife Sam were really cool and laid back and were often busy so we mostly had the house to ourselves, it was lovely to be able to put your feet up after work and watch telly! Being strangers in a small town, we soon becames well known and people we had never met would wave at us and say hi- weird sometimes but Clare and I loved it! I didn't think I was such a small town girl till now!

During our time away from the vineyard (when not at Jonny's or the bar) we went to Cape Palliser- where there is a fur seal colony and a pretty place called lake Ferry which had a highly recommended pub for fish and chips (it was indeed very tasty).

After saying say goodbyes to Martinborough we drove across the Waiarapa mountains to Wellington to stay with Tom's relations (Mike- Tom's dad's second cousin?) and take the opportunity to go to a rugby match- the Hurricanes vs the Crsaders. No, I didn't really know what was going on, but Tom is a walking rugby rule book and explained things as we watched . The atmosphere was electric- there were fireworks at the start and I finally appreciate how big rugby is over here.

We also met-up with James who likes it there so much he is staying till the end of May. We had booked our ferry crossing for Monday 31st so spent the day with him looking around Te Papa- one of N.Z's biggest attractions; a new museum which is definately lives up to the hype (good cafe and gift shop too!).

Mike has a holiday house just round the coast from Picton where the ferry comes in from the North Island, which was free for a week so, here we are and it is lovely! It is perched on a hill with views across the marina and as it can sleep 12 but there are only 4 of us we have a double room eacg. There is also a whirlpool bath which Clare and I have tested out thoroughly. We are in heaven after months of camping and treated ourselves to a bottle of gin for G'n'Ts on the verandah- I know it isn't very backpacker-esque but it is so nice! They may have to drag us away on Friday ( I wnader what squatters rights there are here?).

Pip has now sadly left the group for a bit as he has only 5 weeks left before he has to be back to start his PGCE and wants to get on with seeing all that the South Island has to offer. Think there will be a big hole- especially for Tom who now has only female companions (neither of whom are very good at fishing!)

Hopefully won't leave it so long before I fill you in- if you have read this far, well done!

Currently in Nelson, where we drop off Pip and then back to Picton to sort out how we want to do the Abel Tasman coastal walk...

Missing you all tons, we have started getting rather sentimental about England (and Scotland for some obscure reason!)- but I think we just miss opur friends and family more than anything.

Hope you are all well and taking care of yourselves-

lots of love




Wow, can't believe you've been there for about a quarter of your year already! Sounds like you're continuing to have an awesome time, 'tis good to hear what you've been up to! Rick and I watched your skydiving DVD when we visited your parents' at Easter - looks sooo scary but amazing!

Love M xXx

  Madelyn Apr 14, 2008 8:57 PM


Delighted to read the latest blog entry and to find you are getting on OK. Many thanks for your postcard which is up on the wall with the rest from the 'boys' trip. Will let you know when 'a certain event' has occured - not long now! Keep smiling ATVB.
Love UP & AD

  Mead43 Apr 15, 2008 6:05 AM

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