The Vines Village

This is a great place to stop with specially marked Motorhome parking. There is a great Café which does a great Bacon and Eggs breakfast and the coffee is good too.

There own pond .. nice outlook

There are several specialty Wine shops, a Cellar / Wine tasting shop, an amazing Quilting shop, a specialty Merino clothing place which is nice and out the back, there are places for the kids to stretch their legs too.

A nice bright Quilt
Fiona checking out some local spirits

The morning we were there, there were local rugby people giving the visiting kids a good workout with rugby balls and running races. There was also a Boules court and a giant chess set to play with as well.

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We stopped in for a cup of coffee and a scone and had a good look around. Everything in the specialty Wine shop is made in NZ including Gin and Whisky and its well worth a look.

Looking across towards Nelson with the snow on the tops of the hills

If you’re in the area, a great place to stop. Its on the road out to Nelson at Raupara. There is something there for everyone 🙂

The 27K ride

Andy, the Spring Creek camp owner, had just been telling me that some truck drivers who were due to stay in the camp had called to say that they wouldn’t be here as they’d got stuck in the snow in the Lewis Pass so we knew it was going to be cold!  It was fine though and it was forecast to be dry but the sky was a bit threatening.

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The weather is strange here as you see the clouds in the hills and on the rain radar but nothing seems to make it over the Nelson hills apart from sunshine, so a lot of the weather forecast seems to be a case of the Bark being worse than the Bite!

The old Narrow Blenheim Bridge and railway bridge. Fiona way in the distance.

Anyway, we set off in the morning to ride into Blenheim which is about 7 k’s down the main highway. About halfway down, I discovered a bike lane that goes all the way down so we shifted over to that to be safe.

The Criterion Fire
One of the rebuilt Criterions after the fire in the floods.

After having a look around Blenheim, we stopped for a cup of tea. We stumbled across the spot where the old Criterion Hotels were built, all on the same site. There were 3 of them all destroyed by fire between the late 1880’s through to the 1960’s. The site is now occupied by a Backpackers and Bar.

The Backpackers on the Criterion site.

We were heading out to Allan Scotts Vineyard which is about 10 k’s by bike against the 25 odd knot wind which was hard riding. Right opposite Allan Scotts is Cloudy Bay Vineyards so we were spoilt for choice.

Allan Scotts fine establishment
Allan Scotts Cellar. The Chardonnay was spectacular.

A glass of Chardonnay and a really nice cheeseboard here with all sorts which was really nice and Fiona had a Seafood Chowder soup which she enjoyed.

Looking across towards Nelson with the snow on the tops of the hills

Then it was back on the bikes and back to Rafe, 10 k’s ! With the wind behind us coming home, we were barrelling along and we were home before the showers looming in the hills.