The big day for Cruise Martinborough is when all the cars start in Puruatanga park, where we were staying and then all roar into the town square and completely surround the main square.
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It is truly a magnificant sight. The park in the middle under the trees, gets covered in portable deck chairs from the car owners to shelter from the sun. The coffee and Ice Cream carts are doing a roaring trade. The Cafe’s are flat out and its just a neat scene of people everywhere wandering through the magnificent old Fords, Chevrolets and many others.
The time and money that has gone into these cars is unbelievable and it is not until you get a close up look at some of them that you can appreciate the craftsmenship involved.
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People enjoying the sights
Time for a photo
The pie carts were busy
Cruising in the park
American muscle everywhere you look
We spent an hour or so having a good look around before settling for a good old fashioned lime thickshake from a milkshake bar in the square.
An amazing scene with several retailers saying that they wished it happened more often 🙂 So do I !
Fiona and I had both taken 6 months off for a trip to Europe and to go around the South Island and we were really looking forward to it..
After getting back from Europe in early August and with our house still rented out, we immediately went to Taupo to pick up Rafe who was being cared for in Gary’s shed by Gary’s neighbour Chris… kind chaps that they are !
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We returned to Auckland to get a few things done like drop down steadies on Rafe and a couple of other things and then we were off.
We left Auckland and first stop was Taupo with Gary and Dianne, who we’d been around Europe with and other Motorhome friends Ian and Lynda. A few nights there, a night in Mangaweka, then to Wellington to catch up with my son Alex who commutes from Auckland, then onto the ferry and the adventure began.
Best Park over property (POP) – Peski’s in Geraldine where we spent nearly two weeks.
Best free Parking – Lowburn on the lake front.. a week of perfect weather helped here 🙂
I’ll let the Image Gallery below tell the story of the trip. Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow.
Rafe at the Mangaweka Campground
Entering the Tory Channel. North Island behind
Rafe with the handbrake on with people getting off at Picton.
Looking across towards Nelson with the snow on the tops of the hills
Some extras with the daffodils
Dogs exercising their owners.
I can feel a drink coming on
The famous Restaurant over the water.
Looking down the main street with the Old St Peters Church and the Windmill behind. The Windmill was in the main street of Nelson for many years.
Fiona on the Bristol Freighter
The Bristol Freighter
The port and the shops
Late afternoon in the sun
Looking down from the lookout
A Happy Place
The Moutere Inn
Dusk looking down Reeftons main street with the old lights lighting the street.
The Bearded Miners. Gavin, Peter and Mark
People collecting Driftwood down by the Greymouth Breakwater
ith rafe outside that famous Hotel
The Jetty down at Lake Mahinapua
The Bar. Amazing working cash register
Fiona with the fire at the Empire
Up in the Historic Gold area
The Franz Josef Glacier. See if you can spot a Helicopter
Rafe at Hawea
The amazing dump station with the grates in the ground at Queenstown
Queenstown with Jacks Point on the right
Fiona and Jessa at Q’town
Fiona checking out the Fairlight Railway Station
A Train at the Station
Inside the carriage – Lumsden
The Texaco Tanker Invercargill
Fiona in the café done up as a 50’s Kitchen
Curio bay looking towards the campground
The park setup – Lawrence
One of the Roxburgh pubs
A sluicing lake behind the park _ Roxburgh.
Close to the bike trail – Roxburgh
Fiona nearly at Roxburgh
A view over Clyde
The old Hotel
The road through the vineyard through the Kawarau Gorge
The kawerau River from the road
Jessa checking out a Pinot Gris at Mt Rosa
Lunch at the historic Gibbston Valley Tavern
The Ophir Bridge
The Function Centre – Omakau
The front of the Hotel
Starting off at Ranfurly Railway Station
Fiona arriving at Wedderburn
Once the tea rooms, now a museum.
The Dunedin Railway Station
Along the Platform
The Taieri train
In the Railway Station
The Pergola with a peep of Dunedin at the end.
Outside the ballroom
The main street at Rush hour 😉 Waimate
The Oamaru Wharf
Plenty of room
Sue (Peskis) with her new Letterbox
The gardens at Peskis
Fiona checking out the Hats
Cheers at Geraldine
One of the performing groups
Fiona with her great auntie Jeannie’s Morris
The interior of Johns truck
Fiona with the Cadburys Chocolate
Lake Tekapo late on our first day
Love the different layers in the colour
The Stone Church with the tourists
Happy Hour with all our visitors at Tekapo. Cell pic
A bridge across the river
Across Lake McGregor
Our neighbours Jim and Lynley back at the NZMCA park
The first Tunnel
On the way back to Omakau
A Miners hut
On the way to the Stamper Battery
Fiona gold panning
Under the mountains
Rafe in front of the house plugged in. The visitors area on the very left.
The boat club down by the NZMCA park
Parked behind the Gate in Cromwell
Ross is a great character.. the birthday boy.
The pools at Hamner
Fiona enjoying the heat.
Look at all that water.
Fiona at the market – Nelson
The Church cafe – Richmond
The bar at the cellar Door
Lots of Motorhomes on the deck
Ian and Gary with all the polishing toys!
We met some wonderful people along the way and had some nice 5pm catchups in some fantastic places.
The weather was superb. Fiona reckons we only had 1 wet day in the South Island! I reckon it was 3 but the weather really looked after us, if anything it was quite hot with a record breaking 33C in Cromwell on the day we decided to do a bike ride from Lowburn to the Historic Precinct and back !
The difference in Fuel prices between the different parts of NZ was quite noticeable with the highest I saw at $1.48 a litre for diesel around Hanmer and the lowest $1.19 in Cromwell. We filled up in Takanini before we left at $.98 a litre! As Fiona says though Hay Ho.. when in Rome !
One of the things that really surprised me as we went around was how many people recognised us from this Blog and who made themselves known. It was fantastic to meet you and to hear your feedback. We’re fast approaching 400,000 views which is amazing in less than 2 years!
We’re back in Auckland with our feet up for a bit before we set off again.
Fiona’s sister Sara had popped into Queenstown for 3 days to see her daughter Jessa. Sara lives on Waiheke Island which is now pretty much a suburb of Auckland which has a strong wine culture, so with her arriving in Queenstown, we were going wine tasting.
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We were staying at Creeksyde Motor camp and first thing in the morning, Sara and Jessa arrived in Jessa’s car and we were off. The thought was to start at a really popular Vineyard by the Queenstown / Arrowtown turnoff and we went from there. They had a cheesery there too so we tasted that as well.
There was some wonderful Goats cheese and some nice Blue Cheese too. We bought a bit of each. The lady running the wine tasting was french and really knew her stuff. Sara and I bought a couple of bottles between us and next we were heading for the Gibbston valley, to go the Chard Vineyard.
To get there we had to cross the bridge by the Kawerau Gorge bungy jump and then turn right up the hill and drive along a road that literally clung to the cliff. Amazing.
They had a great Vineyard and after tasting, Sara and I bought more wine. We were doing well 🙂
Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow
Chard Farm in Gibbston valley
Wine tasting rules at Chard Farm
sara and Fiona at Mt Rosa
Our hostess Edita with a Red.
Fiona Jessa and Sara discussing the menu.
Gibbston Valley Tavern
The scary road to Chard Farm
Gibbston Valley Tavern
Next was Mt Rosa Vineyard where we had Edita showing us the wine and she knew her Onions too.
Stunning wines and they had a pack of two bottles of Rose and some mulled wine syrup which made 3 bottles of mulled wine. I’ll get some other cheaper Rose rather than use their good stuff for Mulled Wine. We had a lot of fun there and Edita did well.
It was time for lunch so we headed back towards Queenstown slightly for the Gibbston Valley Tavern. The original old pub and is just a real charmer with several original outbuildings in Schist.
We had some amazing pizza’s there and headed back to Rafe at Creeksyde to try some of our new wine and cheese. Fiona doesn’t drink wine so she drove which was just as well 🙂
A wonderful day with clear blue skies and nice people in some great places with great Wine.
The forecast talked about several days of some rough weather coming in from the next day so we thought we’d make the best of the great weather and have a look at the Historic town of Sarau, now called Upper Moutere.
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Its an amazing little town up behind Motueka which was settled by several boat loads of Germans who landed here in the 1840’s. The town started with a hall and a church, followed later by a pub and was a thriving little town. The original church has gone but the current Lutheran Church on the same site that still stands there today, has a bell that has the original german inscriptions on it.
We stopped in the middle of town and had a look around. The old Post Office is now a gift shop with some amazing jams and clothes and jewelery. They also coffee and a muffin if you’re peckish!
Across the road is an amazing Clay Gallery run by Katie Gold and Owen Bartlett. They have a rustic old barn there covered in all sorts which I thought had to be photographed. The house is amazing and while were there, I managed to get a piccy of Katie with one of her masterpieces.
After this, we found out that Kahurangi Wines were just around the corner and decided it would be rude not to stop there for a taste since we were in the area 🙂
After tasting some lovely Chardonnay and a wine they make from an Italian grape, I ended up buying a bottle of each. We shared the Italian beauty with our neighbours back at Kaiteriteri Selwyn and Lynda. It went down a treat !
Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow
The Clay gallery barn.. amazing
Katies Clay Gallery
Lovely Kahurangi Rose
The Moutere Inn
From here it was onto the historic Moutere Inn for a drink and something to eat. The Moutere Inn is still the original pub and is reputed to be the oldest in New Zealand that is still in its original state.
The pub is a favorite stopping point for a lot of Sunday Motorbike riders with some huge bikes so we got to have a quick look at some amazing bikes parked in the carpark.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
While we were on the ferry, I’d checked out a couple of places to stay on the apps and found a place called Spring Creek.
Driving towards Blenheim, its one of the first small towns you come across as you come out of the Picton hills.
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The weather forecast was evil with all sorts of nasties due with cold, thunder and all sorts so we were keen to get plugged in with some heat which meant a Motorcamp or a CAP.
Spring Creek Motorcamp is now run by Christine and Andy who last november moved down and are doing it up. It was very run down and with their experience from running the Top 10 at Orere Point by Clevedon, they making really good strides forward.
The camp is huge and is lucky that it has huge mature trees all around it and with the stream running along one side of it is a great place to stay.
They also have quite a few motel units here and a backpackers building.
Fiona and I were staying a week so arranged for a weekly off season rate but the normal nightly powered site for 2 cost is $35 which is really reasonable. The showers are superb and are $1 and there is a well equipped laundry and dump station plus they’re really nice people as well.
We spent the first two nights on a gravel park as the grass was a bit soft and the forecast was evil.
During our first day here, we went for a bike ride about 5 k’s down the road to check out the Makara Chocolate Factory. There was a 20 odd knot head wind all the way so there was a bit of effort involved. A good ride though and perfectly flat and we knew there were good rewards at the end 🙂
We’ve been here before when we bought our wee Rafe caravan down several years ago. The chocolates are amazing and we couldn’t leave without buying some.
Right across the road from here is Saint Clair Family Wines with a full wine tasting facility and restaurant. We met a nice young couple and their young son from Australia there who were doing the vineyards in their small rented Jucy van. She was a Kiwi who had come back to see her family in Hamilton. Most people tend to go for the Sav Blancs and sweeter wines but I’m a die hard Chardonnay person and she was too, so we were both tasting the same wines and comparing notes which was fun.
After an hour or so there, we jumped on the bikes and rode back with the wind to Spring Creek Camp just beating a shower 🙂 .. its a lot more fun screaming along with the wind!
The next day, we took Rafe to the local supermarket in Blenheim and later went to Wither Hills for lunch which was just amazing. More wine tasting and the most amazing Beef lunch which melted in your mouth, washed down with some really nice Chardonnay. It doesn’t get much better than this. Fiona had a really nice Lamb Pie and really enjoyed that. Nice people, nice Restaurant, superb food and easy Motorhome parking too.
When we returned to the Camp, Andy, the camp owner, suggested that the park by the stream on the grass might be solid enough to park on so with some sheets of ply to stick our driving wheels on just in case, we parked right by the stream. There is a pet Eel called Eddie and his friends who are fed every morning and come right up on the bank.
The weather was great, there was still a bit of wind around but that’s normal for the Wairarapa apparently.
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Rob, Helen and Chloe had hired bikes for the day. I unloaded our bikes off the back of Rafe, put some air in the tires and we were off.
Martinborough is setup around a square which makes navigation really easy.
The first vineyard to visit was diagonally opposite the Martinborough Top 10 which is where we’re staying. We were there for the first hour and then moved onto Margrains where we had lunch before and were familiar with their wines.
It’s amazing how the same or similar grape and wine type can taste so different with just half a kilometre or so between them.
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A person with a sense of humour
Chloe with the bikes at Margrains
Ye olde Hotel
Helen and Rob with Cjloe at the first Vineyard
The food was great and the wine even better with us buying a few bottles between us.
We’d just arrived back at the Motorcamp by bike after having a good nosey around the town, when the wine was dropped off at the campground.
It’s a great wee town Martinborough. Being nice and flat, it is perfect for bike riding and exploring.
We’d been in Martinborough about 2 hrs and it was time for a nice glass of Chardy with Rob and Helen to fortify ourselves for the bus trip from the Top 10 Campground and Luna Estate on the other side of Martinborough where the concert was being held.
The bus arrived at 3:30 approx and we were greeted with a huge line down the path to the Vineyard. At 4pm, the line had moved and at 4:30 odd, we finally made it into the concert to find that due to the bad organisation of getting people through the gates, most punters had missed most, if not all of the first act which was Boh Runga. We got the last 10 minutes or so and she was very good. Rob gave the officer of the day a good dressing down for the delays and things started to change :-). Go Rob !
They were expecting 5000 people which is not a lot in terms of concerts these days and everywhere you looked, the actions of the volunteer troops shouted disorganisation.
Anyway .. Beyond that..the bar service was great.
The music and the mixing of the sound was sensational. Ub40 sounded like they always do.. Brilliant and given that most people brought foldout chairs and whatnot to sit on, very few people sat on them as they were dancing and shaking around for most of the night.
The weather had been threatening to rain but thankfully held off..
A great concert despite the delays at the beginning.
While cruising around Matakana on Mother’s Day, we thought we’d pop in to Ascension Vineyard for a little wine tasting and see about buying some nice wine.
This has to be one of the better Motorhome friendly parking places you can stop at. The carpark is huge. We parked in the corner out of everyone’s way and wandered over to the cellar door tasting area. We were greeted by a lovely French woman who really knew her wines.
Some of the wines tasted
Fiona enjoying the comfy chairs
My favourite was a Viognier which apparently is an almost extinct grape as it was allowed to die off in Europe. The story goes that it is quite a picky grape as to where and how it grows. It was imported to Australia and is also now here in NZ. A beautiful wine. I bought a few bottles of their assorted special wines and we left to find a place to stay for the night.
If you’re out Matakana way in your Motorhome, a very easy friendly place stop and have a meal or do some wine tasting.
This is the tale of our mini adventure to the Outer Hebrides in our 6m coach built motorhome. I hope you find the story of the people we met and the places we've seen interesting and useful if you're planning your own trip.