Tag Archives: Vineyards

Out with the Old, in with the New

It was New Year’s Eve. We left the Hawkes Bay Golf club reasonably early so we could find a good spot at Eriksen Park. It was busy but there were plenty of gaps.

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The Dethleff corner. Steve and Rosemary’s Esprit, Rafe and Ian and Erik’s Esprit.

We’d only driven about halfway into the park when we spotted an older Dethleffs Esprit with some big gaps alongside, so I parked alongside and Steve next to us. Easy.

Busy at Eriksen Park

After we’d opened vents and settled in, off came the bikes and the four of us set off to Napier for lunch. It was nice to see some of the old cars cruising the streets.

Click on the Gallery below for an Enlarged Slideshow

We then went to the famous Masonic Hotel for a drink but after less than Β½ hour, we were told they were closing so we moved to this amazing wine bar just down the road that Steve knew about, where we were entertained by really good German host who really looked after us.

At Napier shops about to have lunch. Steve, Fiona and Rosemary. Check out the car going past.
On the way back to Eriksen into the gale !

At least an hour went by, maybe more πŸ™‚ and we set off back to Eriksen on our bikes along the waterfront. The easterly wind had really got up, so the electric assistance was cranked to the max πŸ™‚

Ian, Rosemary, Steve, Fiona and Erik enjoying a New Years eve Happy Hour.

The owners of the older Esprit came back in their Toad, and we went over and met them. Nice guys from up by Kaitaia, Eric and Ian. They later came over and joined us for a New Year’s Eve drink.

Bliss

After tea, we sat outside while it got a bit cooler and waited for the fireworks.

A really good day on the bikes again with friends.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Eriksen Park – Armada – GPS

Sunshine, Biking and some new Vineyards

We woke up to another great day of sunshine and after cups of Tea and Coffee with Steve and Rosemary, we decided it would be better to move a little further down the road.

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At the Golf Club, Steve and Rosemary’s Esprit behind

We were heading to the Hawkes Bay Golf club so after a trip into Hastings to get some provisions and the dump station, we headed to the Golf Club.

Horse was the camp supervisor, and he very quickly had us sorted for a spot with some power. There were showers and Toilets too in the main building across the practice Tee.

We decided to keep it close today and not ride too far as it was predicted to get really hot. There were two vineyards close by that both had good ratings. Alpha Domus and Abbey rather than attempt the 25k’s odd the day before πŸ™‚

From the parking area across to the Clubhouse and facilities

After leaving the golf club we headed for the closest one Abbey but before we got there, we bumped into some people biking away for some feedback and they said it was chocker being right on lunchtime, so we thought we’d head to Alpha Domus a bit further down the road.

At Alpha Domus about to enjoy some really nice Sparkling Rose.
Alpha Domus by the vines. Fiona Rosemary and Steve. – Iphone pic.

It was lovely there. Some nice trees in the carpark to chain the bikes to, a great sparkling Rose and some very helpful people. They didn’t have anything to eat so we settled for a couple of bags of chips. The Sparkling Beatrix Rose was a stunner, and it was very pleasant sitting in the shade on the edge of the vineyard.

At Abbey, Steve with his beer tasting.

After this we headed about 200 metres up the road to Abbey Vineyard and it was still pretty busy but what a great atmosphere. There was a band playing and it was alive and kicking πŸ™‚

Steve did a beer tasting, Fiona had an upmarket Gin and Tonic and I settled for a Chardonnay and the platter we got between us was amazing.

Rosemary and Steve at Abbey
The Scene at Abbey

We spent a good hour or two here and then had a quiet ride back to the Motorhomes.

A perfect day in paradise… Steve and Rosemary joined us after tea in Rafe.Β  A fantastic day with good company.

Rafe’s Tracker map to the Golf Club via Provisions – Armada – GPS

In the Wine Triangle

Leaving the Gentle Annie and arriving in Hastings, we arranged to stay at a Vineyard right in heart of the Bridge Pa wine triangle. There were Bike Trails almost to the front door of the Vineyard to any of the other Cellar Doors and Vineyards. We were in for a treat.

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Looking out from our parking spot across the Vineyard

The Vineyard was also the home of Double of Quits Vineyard or as we called it Ali’s Bikes. Ali and her husband owned the 4 acres of vines of several varieties and also ran the Bike hire business from a big Barn. Alongside the Barn were 4 powered sites for Motorhomes.

We were perfectly positioned for a great day biking around the vineyards. The weather forecast was great, we were right in the middle of the vineyards, a perfect situation πŸ™‚

On the bike trail to Trinity Hill

Early the next morning, I got the bikes off the back of Rafe and we were off. We headed off to one of the roads up by Roy’s Hill as we had seen Trinity Hill as we drove in.

We bumped into a group of people biking in the opposite direction to us and we stopped for a chat and a recce as quite a few of the vineyards were closed.Β  They had just biked from Trinity Hill and confirmed it was open so destination confirmed!

Fiona crossing the road outside Trinity Hill
Arrived !

We hadn’t booked but they were able to squeeze us in for lunch which was great.

I’ve always been a bit of a Chardonnay fan and they had what had recently won the best Chardonnay in the world in the International Wine competition, the 125 Gimblett and it was the best!

Rahil with the wine from heaven.

I did a wine tasting of three of their better Chardy’s and we had a platter between the two of us… It was just magic and the education on the wines was great too. Rahil was our man of the day telling us all there was to know about the wines. Fantastic experience.

Amazing Platter

After leaving there we headed back to Rafe and our park and settled down in the sun with yes… a glass of Chardonnay πŸ™‚

We hadn’t long been back when we received a call from friends, Rosemary and Steve from the Dethleffs Owners Group in their newish Esprit GT.

Great to see them and we sat outside and enjoyed what was left of the sunshine for the day.

Storage at Trinity Hill

A wonderful day and so nice to be in a good spot to be able to bike around the vineyards.

Rafe’s Tracker map to the Vineyard showing Trinity Hill – Armada – GPS

The Roar in the Square

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.

Grants Plymouth and Caravan
BBQ in a hurry!

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.

Click on the Gallery below for a slideshow

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.

End of the day

An amazing scene with several retailers saying that they wished it happened more often πŸ™‚  So do I !

Where we parked in relation to the square

Historic Greytown

Another one of those towns that we keep coming back to. The food and shopping is good, the real estate prices like everywhere else have skyrocketed but it is still a lovely little town.

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The Sun is out

We checked in at the local campground as we’ve stayed there a few times before and the manager Ken can’t do enough for you. It is also a Winter Campsaver site so that makes it very cost effective in the off season. Nice showers and toilets and nice flat sites with big high hedges to protect against the famous Wairarapa winds. There is also a swimming pool next door run by the council which you can use in the hot months.

Ken was very welcoming and basically is was park wherever you like. We settled Rafe and plugged in and went for a walk into town and started at the french CafΓ© for a coffee before moving on to the pub.

That night when we got back, we met our new neighbours Michelle and Patrick from Wanganui and other neighbours Karen and Ian who have recently sold their award winning Olive Grove. Juno Olives. Really nice people who we spent a lot of time with over the next few days.

Play Area

The next day, we took Rafe to Martinborough to have lunch at one of our favourite Vineyards, Margrains. The Chardonnay is fantastic as is the food.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

We started in the main square at a CafΓ© in the corner and from there walked around the square to check out the shops. Fiona took a shine to a dress shop there and ended up buying a nice black dress and a wooden necklace to go with it which looks good. We then moved on to Margrains and the slow cooked Pork Belly they do has never tasted better. Nice to wash it down with a great Chardy!

The Pub in town

We headed back to the Greytown Campground to catch up with our neighbours.

On our last day in Greytown we were going to bike up a trail 10 k’s or so to a historic railway station just out of town but we got to the other end of Greytown and it started to pour with rain so a change to plan B. ..

We spent the rest of the day walking through the shops and later had a fantastic communal meal in Michelle and Patrick’s awning with our neat neighbours.

Our Farewell dinner
LtoR Our farewell dinner. Patrick, Michelle, Karen and Ian.

A nice farewell to some super nice people and a great little town.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Greytown Campground – Armada GPS

Sun and Wine at Te Awanga

One of our favourite spots in the Hawkes Bay has to be Clifton Reserve. With Toilets and Rubbish recycling and right on the most amazing beach, it can’t be beaten and its a gold coin donation.

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Looking towards Napier

We’ve stayed here quite a few times and it is always fabulous. This time we were here so we could bike along to the Te Awanga Vineyard which was a few K’s down the road to have lunch. A perfect way to start a great day.

Great view

After settling down Rafe and getting the bikes down, we were off and heading down some great bike tracks towards the vineyard. Their driveway would probably be nearly a k long through the vineyards but its very easy and a lovely ride.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

Parking in a bike rack not far from where we would eat, we were given a table which looked out over the vineyard towards Cape Kidnappers which was great.

Great spot

We must have spent several hours here eating pizza, drinking Chardonnay and Cider before we headed back to Rafe at Clifton. A fantastic spot and very reasonably priced. There are two other vineyards there too which we’ve been to as well. Clearwater and Elephant Hill. All are very good with different levels of food and pricing.

Sheltered

Arriving back at Clifton, it was starting to fill up but there was plenty of room for all.

Nice evening
Sundown

A great day in Paradise.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Clifton – Armada GPS

The Vineyard bike ride

A couple of years ago we stayed here at Spring Creek and Managers, Andy and Christine had recently arrived from the Β Orere Point Top 10 and were just getting started.

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Parked at Spring Creek

On our way to the ferry and wanting to check out the vineyards around Blenheim on the bikes, we thought this would be a perfect spot to stay. It was also good to catch up with Andy and Christine and see the changes they’ve made to their campground.

The Eel Park

We rocked in fresh from the Kaikoura Coast so it was nice to be able switch off, plug in and open a bottle of wine.

Nice Parking

The next day we were up earlyish and got the bikes ready for the loop around Blenheim.

The Bike trail to Blenheim on State Highway 1

Our first stop was at the Ritual Cafe in the centre of Blenheim and the food was amazing. We’ve been here before and the Coffee and food never fails!

Click on the Gallery below for the bike ride

After having lunch there we set off westward towards Allan Scotts Vineyard. I’m not sure of the distance biut probably an easy 10k’s or so, so the Chardy in their open Veranda was very well received. From there we headed to the Raukaura Shops and then back to the camp after a quick stop at the Chocolate factory.

Arriving!

The round trip was about 32k’s and I felt like I’d done some riding too.

Fiona in the open Veranda area

Last time we did much the same ride two or so years ago on Huff and Puff bikes, it took a whole morning. This time on Electric bikes, it took less than 1.5 hours. A big difference but I still felt the 32k’s !!

The Roar in the Square

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.

Click on an Image for Hi Res

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.

Grants Plymouth and Caravan
BBQ in a hurry!

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.

Click on the Gallery below for a slideshow

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.

End of the day

An amazing scene with several retailers saying that they wished it happened more often πŸ™‚Β  So do I !

Where we parked in relation to the square

What was Hot in the South Island

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 !

Click on the Images for Hi Res

Welding on the feet

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.

Rafe and Ian and Lynda’s XLI

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.

Dianne picking the girls up for a tiki tour around Taupo

The highlights:
Best Park over property (POP) –Β  Peski’s in Geraldine where we spent nearly two weeks.

Nice parking

Best free Parking – Lowburn on the lake front.. a week of perfect weather helped here πŸ™‚

The View

Best NZMCA park – probably a tie between Tekapo and Ranfurly. Tekapo is stunning amongst the pine trees right on the lake and Ranfurly, dead flat with a dump station next door, rubbish and water and right in the middle of town !

Amongst the pines with Ray and Margaret on the right

Best Long term rate campground – Kaiteriteri right on the beach. Just magnificent.

Close to the water

Best pub that we stayed at – Empire Hotel in Ross. Great roast meals, lovely town and great hosts.

The Empire

Also Omakau Hotel with a fully setup Motorhome park at the back.

Best Museum we saw – Bill Richardsons Truck Museum. Brilliantly done and with a huge collection of all sorts.. even lawnmowers and tools.

Henry Ford and some Bowsers

Best Bike ride – Otago rail trail. Omakau to Ida valley and back. Also Lowburn to Historic Precinct in Cromwell.

The first Viaduct

Best Bridge that we crossed in Rafe – Historic Ophir Bridge. I found myself doing some quick mental arithmetic to make sure it was safe πŸ™‚

Rafe on the Ophir Bridge

Most amazing discovery – Brittens first Motorhome which we found in the Geraldine museum.

From the back. A nice stained glass window on the back. Note the opening wooden windows.

I’ll let the Image Gallery below tell the story of the trip.
Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow.

We met some wonderful people along the way and had some nice 5pm catchups in some fantastic places.

Fiona on the bike ride on the way back to Lowburn alongside lake Dunstan

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 Historic Precinct

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 !

Happy Hour at Peski’s

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.

Let’s start with Wet Jacket

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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Sara, Jessa and Fiona wine tasting at Wet Jacket

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.

Nice Cheese at Wet Jacket

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.Β  Sara and I bought a couple of bottles between us and next we were heading for the Gibbston valley, to go the Chard Vineyard.

The road through the vineyard through the Kawarau Gorge

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.

Great buildings at Chard Farm

They had a great Vineyard and after tasting, Sara and I bought more wine. We were doing well πŸ™‚

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

Next was Mt Rosa Vineyard where we had Edita showing us the wine and she knew her Onions too.

Mt Rosa’s vineyard in the Gibbston valley

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.

Jessa checking out a Pinot Gris at Mt Rosa

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.

Lunch at the historic Gibbston Valley Tavern

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 πŸ™‚

Great history at the Gibbston Valley Tavern

A wonderful day with clear blue skies and nice people in some great places with great Wine.