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Published: September 14th 2008
Day 514 (24.08.08)
We planned to travel up the coast a little today and so we were up early and on the road before 9. The weather was a little grey and drizzly so we were glad to be in the comfort of our little van.
After a short drive we stopped for coffee at a beautiful restaurant called The Store where we toasted ourselves by the open fire (although stopping for coffee is apparently not something Jean and Mike 'usually' do!).
A little way up the road is a place called Ohau Point where you can again view fur seals along the coast. The extra bonus here though is that if you walk just 5 minutes up a track from the road you can follow a stream up to the Ohau waterfall where you will find seal pups playing in the pool beneath - magic! The pups are left there in a kind of creche in the safety of the pool to play. We spent a happy time there watching the antics of about ten gorgeous little seal pups as they tossed and tumbled in the water. A local girl came up and started to throw sticks
in for them and they chased and returned them just like puppies! We found it pretty tough to drag ourselves away but were accompanied a fair way back down the stream by two adventurous pups.
Back on the road we stopped for a feast of a lunch at the East Coast Inn at Ward, a really welcoming locals pub.
Our destination for the evening was Blenhein the centre of the South Islands most famous wine region, Marlborough. Finding a little motel just outside Blenheim we realised with joy that we were in time to sample a few wines. Piling into one van (with Mark very kindly offering to be the skipper) we made our way round several wineries including Montana, Hunters, Cloudy Bay and Saint Clair sampling the wines the region is most famous for Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir amongst several others! We found several bottles that we deemed good enough for the Hayward travelling wine cellar and after a quick stop at the local chocolate makers we spent the evening enjoying one or two drinks back at the motel.
Day 515 (25.08.08)
We had a couple more wineries we wanted to visit before leaving
the region and so we stopped off for a quick taste at Allan Scotts before heading to the towered Highfield winery. If you're going to stop at only one winery in the region we recommend that this is it. The welcome was great, the wines superb and the views from the tuscan inspired tower excellent. After chatting to the lady at the cellar door we also got a personal tour of the wine cellar there. We topped off our visit to Highfield with a coffee on the terrace (although we don't usually do this).
We drove on up to Picton and then picked up the Queen Charlotte drive over to Havelock. Sadly the weather had closed in and we didn't get the great views across the Marlborough Sounds that we'd hoped for but it was a nice windy drive nonetheless.
Finding a great room at the Garden Motel in Havelock we jumped into our wet weather gear and braved the rain for a quick walk down to the marina. Havelock is renowned for it's green shelled mussels and we thought we must try them whilst we were there. We managed to find some in a tank at the
local supermarket and have to say that they were absolutely delicious as we sank into a huge pile of them later that evening!
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