1.5.17 Hastings to Waiheke Island

Today we make our penultimate journey of this trip, it will be a mixed bag of transport, taxi, teeny plane, bus, ferry, bus. 

We have booked an internal flight with Air New Zealand as it was cheaper than the bus and it saved us an overnight in Auckland.

Propeller driven plane….gulp….

So, on our last Monday away, as everyone at home was having a bank holiday lie in we were up early. We packed and left our glamping tent, which had been battered by wind and rain the night before, and got on our way to the small but beautiful Napier airport. 

View from Hawkes Bay airport

We checked in our bags, as they had bottles of wine carefully packed throughout we asked that they have the fragile tags put on. They were duly tagged.

Look at the fragile label, this means do not throw it around the plane

Breakfast was pastry based with Hawthorne coffee to wash it down. We watched as the baggage handlers threw our bags into the baggage hold on our plane. Fragile tags duly ignored.

Gourmet sausage roll

The wind had really picked up so it was with trepidation that we boarded the small, propeller driven plane. It was bumpy on the way up but once up it was a breeze.

55 mins later we are in Auckland and on our way into town for the ferry to the beautiful island of Waiheke, where we had booked a bit of luxury for our last 3 nights of the trip. 

Auckland CBD from Waiheke ferry

The 35 min ferry journey was stunning, many photos were taken.

Landing on the tiny island we got a bus the 2km into Oneroa, luxury, and got into our Air BnB to see what we have for the last time. Washing machine and dryer are the essentials as I don’t want to go back to Mum and Dad’s with a bag full of washing. Mum never did my washing when I was a student so I doubt it will be gratefully received on Friday!!! 

Our place has views front and back to the seaside. How ace?

Harbour in Waiheke 

We got some fancy items from the posh Island Grocer and essentials from Four Square and went back to the flat to do washing and cook up some lamb merguez sausages for a late lunch.

Guy cooked a stunning evening meal of lamb meatballs, couscous and adds green leaves for health. 

It was accompanied by 2 very fine Pinot Noirs for which we were grateful to be drinking due to Guy’s diligent packing and not the Air NZ baggage handlers. We watch The Bachelor and MKR. 

Pinot Noir taste test

21.4.3017 Marlborough vineyards Day 1

First day of cycling round Marlborough and we set ourselves up with a banana each and cranberry and coconut toast for breakfast. 

Our hosts had kindly lent us their mountain bikes for us to tour Marlborough, tyres pumped and we were off. With blue skies and little wind forcasted and we were in great moods. 

The scenery is absolutely stunning, the whole of the Marlborough vineyard region is on an old, massive river bed cutting through a valley. This means that the ground is made up of rocks and gravel instead of soil so great for vines, which like to be treated badly and thrive off low nutrient content.

So we are cycling on a flat riverbed, surrounded by huge, majestic mountains in the distance, the vineyards which are all turning orange and red for autumn and the trees are following suit. It is such a great time to visit, especially as we missed autumn in the UK before we left.

We make our way to Omaka Springs vineyard which is a small boutique vineyard which is making some excellent wines. We bought the Pinot Noir and their Sauvignon Blancs were great (according to Guy).

Next was Highland vineyards, which had a touch of the Tuscany about it and merged with TerraVin 2 years ago. The lass doing the tastings was Canadian, who was knowledgeable. The wines were all very experimental and fascinating, slightly different to what you would normally expect. 

Fromm vineyard was next and we remember this from 2000, it is now organic and makes some natural wines, it is owned by a Swiss guy, and a Swiss guy was in charge of tasting, not the main man but he was really good. His measures were huge and we tasted 10 wines in all.

We tasted some stunning wines there, including a Reisling, which at 7% is not a wine according to EU so cannot be imported to the UK something that might change with the inevitable Brexit, so some good might come of it!

They had not harvested a variety of their grapes because the summer had been so bad. The other thing we have learnt about this season is it has been rainy, wet, cold and so it is a winemakers season i.e. the winemaker really shows their skill when faced with a year of bad weather and challenging grape harvest. 

Cycling was a bit wobbly after Fromm measures but we were back on the wheels and off on the homeward road, via Villa Maria, the huge conglomerate which we all know so well in England. To be honest we were not expecting much but we were blown away with the wines there. We got to taste some single block vineyard wines which are not available outside of NZ and they were stunners. A really good cellar door experience.

One last vineyard before we go home, Wither Hills where we try their standard tasting flight.

Fabulous Shirt

Once home we left our haul of bottles and went for a curry which was uninspiring but still a curry and settled in to watch tat TV in our room. 

Todays scores on the doors were 36 wines tasted from 5 vineyards. 19 miles cycled according to Google.