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Day 18 – Motueka to Blenheim

November 2, 2012

For the first time this holiday we had to retrace our journey of the previous day by 110k. However, we got to see the area differently things. Our total journey was to be 160k from Motueka which is part of Kahurangi National Park to Blenheim which is in the Malborough region. We travelled through the Rai Valley which has some stunning sights, through Havelock which is renowned for green lip mussels. These are delicious tasting meaty mussels and Havelock has a massive mussel farming industry. Passing on through Tuamarina and the Wairau Valley we arrived into Blenheim through the NZ’s largest wine producing area.

Blenheim is the largest town in the Marlborough region and has steadily grown with the development of the wine industry. Grape planting was started in the early 1970’s and it is estimated that there are nearly 70 wineries operating in the area. We had booked an afternoons wine tour and were picked up just before 2pm and taken on our trip around 4 very different wineries. There were only 6 of us on the tour, a young couple from Singapore, a mother and daughter from Brisbane and ourselves. At each winery we got to taste around 5 or 6 of their selected wines such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Merlot.

It was the first time we had done an organised wine tour so and didn’t really know what to expect. However through the skills and knowledge of our driver and each person at the wineries we were taken through a fantastic learning and tasting experience. There were very few wines that we didn’t like. My favourite of that we tasted was a Hunters 2006 Sauvignon Blanc oak barrel aged – I’m generally not a great fan of white wine but this was outstanding. It has a subtle twist of oak to its taste. It has consistently been selected as one of the top wines by those in the industry .I duly bought one to bring back home, along with another couple of wines that were up there with this one.

On our return journey the driver suggested that we could call in at a chocolate making factory – it wasn’t a massive production unit at all but a small concern. This was a delightful place although you only get one tasting chocolate. These chocolates are all hand made and we could see them being manufactured, hence the price reflected this!!

So we finally arrived back at our holiday park with our purchases having had a great afternoon. Another massive benefit of going on such as tour is you don’t drive and therefore any restrictions on what you drink is eased.

We wound down by having a relaxing spa before taking ourselves off to eat at the local pub – having a drink or two of beer as well!!

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