Travel Magazine

Finishing the North Island and Marlborough

By Hanacooper
Hi everyone!
What's news? We haven't heard from quite a few people for a while, so do please keep in touch.
We have been having a great time in NZ. It is still my favorite country...despite the rain!! My last blog left off in Napier, where we thoroughly enjoyed the wine region in Hawkes Bay, but not the art-deco! From there, we drove South to a lovely little area called Martinborough. It is becoming very popular for it's Pinot Noir wines, so we had to check them out and see what all the fuss was about. Martinborough itself is only a small village but it is surrounded by boutique vineyards, so it was an idyllic place to wonder around and do some tasting. We also visited the first inland town to be built in NZ, and it was colonial. Greytown was also a fantastic place to buy chocolate as they had an incredible outlet called 'Schocolate' there...yummy!
Our final destination in the North Island was the capital, Wellington, which is windy and sophisticated. However, it is pretty small for a capital city so we enjoyed our two days there walking around and soaking in some culture. Obviously NZ doesn't have many cities, and it was rather nice to be back in civilization for a while! We managed to fit in a visit to the museum of NZ; Te Papa (our place), which was huge and took all day! Well worth it though.
Last Friday we took the ferry from Wellington to Picton, on NZ's South Island. It took 3.5 hours and was extremely expensive! Nonetheless, we arrived in a very cold Marlborough on Friday night and were excited to be on the South Island, as Phil has wanted to come here for ages. On Saturday we did a wine tour around the Marlborough region, which is famous for Sauvignon Blancs (which you must know if you have ever spent time with my Mum or I!) Because it is my top tipple, Phil drove me around hundreds of vineyards, which was wonderful!! Some of the wines I tasted which you may of heard of include Montanna, Villa Maria, Dry Hills, Wither Hills, Cloudy Bay. I tell you....I think we are going to be wine experts by the time we leave NZ!
On Sunday we arrived at our next WWOOFing stint. We are staying with the Hague family at their stunning home in the Marlborough sounds, between Havelock and Picton. They built the house themselves and it sits on the top of a hill overlooking the sounds and Queen Charlotte Drive. The family are great; Ian and Mandy run a boat-building business and their children, Sam, Ritchie and Becca are in their early twenties and live at home. There is also another English WWOOFer, called Zoe, here so there are heaps of people around! It has been wonderful to have so much company after it being just the 2 of us for so long. We also all have our own room (with an ensuite and dressing room) so that gives you an idea of how monstrous the house is!
During the past week we have helped to clean the warehouse where Ian works, we have pruned the vines they have growing, dismantled their swimming pool, fed the chickens and collected eggs daily, kept the fire going and done basic house-hold chores. They have been hugely generous with feeding us and providing wine and stimulating conversation on a daily basis. Also, the weather has been pretty awful during our stay so we have done lots of TV watching, reading and chatting with Zoe, who is lovely. We will be staying here until at least Monday, and we will see how it goes from there.
Our other news is that we will be cutting our world trip short. Unfortunately our funds are starting to dry up  pretty quickly, and we realised that our plans for seeing South America were completely unrealistic. We have bought our flights forward and will now be flying out of Rio de Janeiro on 19th August. The purpose of this trip was to see Aussie and NZ properly and we will definitely have achieved that! We will still have 3 weeks in Argentina and the South of Brazil on our way home, and we will then be moving to Edinburgh as soon as we return to the UK. I have been offered a place to study on the Creative Writing masters course at Edinburgh Uni, starting this September. Although we are sad that we have to cut the trip short, we are over the moon that I was accepted on to the course and will be living in a new country! Ha ha. And like Jess rightly said, South America and the world are not going anywhere (hopefully) so we have promised ourselves that we will be returning to Chile, Peru and Bolivia as soon as we are solvent again.
Well, that is all for now. Please please send us your news.
Loads of love,
Hana and Phil xxxxxxx

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