MATT: Wine country and the sun is shining...even though it is pretty cold. We drive from Kaikoura to Blenheim along more rugged coastline and stop only to visit a big seal colony right off the highway. They are so close that their stink climbs up your nose immediately, and as the rain starts to batter down on us while we are there - it is a short stop.
On our way into Blenheim we stop at Montana wines (one of the wines we had for our wedding) and hope to join a wine tour. We are told that the next tour (the last of the day) is being taken by a coach load of people and it will be only 15mins long and if we can come back tomorrow we will get the full tour. We mull this over while tasting a few delicious drops, and decide we will come back early the next day - so head of to find the campsite instead.
The camp is on the river, crowded with friendly ducks and has a huge walnut tree which drops nuts on you whenever you walk past it, so I spend a few minutes eating a few and feeding a few to the ducks...mellow.
The next day we are up early and head back to Montana for the tour...we make it for the 10am tour...literally running into the building. We are in luck though, as the only other tourer is from Montana Oz marketing, so we get the head guide and an extra special extended tour to parts of the winery that we wouldn´t ordinarily have got to. The tour is excellent and we learn lots of new stuff about how to make wine...and finish it with another tasting...great.
We drop the van off, hire some bikes and spend the rest of the afternoon visiting Marlborough vineyards...the little artisan places rather the big boys like Montana. What a laugh - we get gradually more drunk and more weighed down with bottles untill we are huffing and puffing our way back to the camp for a drunken dinner. But maybe not the smartest move, as we are up at 5am the next day so that we can be back in Picton in time to catch the ferry back to the North Island.