Final Days in the Marlborough Wine Region

On our second day in Blenheim, we had to move 25 kilometres up the road to Picton because that was the only place where could find a motel for the night. It had rained heavily overnight, but it was fine as we set off on our little drive.

We ambled past the Montana Winery and then up to Picton. We decided to fill in some time by driving around the coast to a little town called Havelock. I don’t think that there was one straight stretch of road in the entire 22 kilometre distance. We did however get some very impressive ‘views of the Marlborough Sounds on the way. We stopped at a little seafood restaurant for lunch and enjoyed a couple of plates of mussels for lunch. This was an essential thing to do as Havelock bills itself as the green shelled mussel capital of the world.

Back at Picton, we booked into our motel and because it was very wet and cold, westayed put, watching some TV and catching up with some email. At night, we walked next `door to the local RSA (Returned Services Association) Branch for a- good value dinner. The club at Picton operates in a large building and appears quite substantial for a small town. There was a small display of NZ’s involvement in the Vietnam War and I think, from -memory, 3781 Kiwis served in Vietnam with 38 fatalities. It’s interesting to compare these statistics with NZ’s experience in WW1 when over 400,000 men fought (10% of the male population of the day) with a fatality rate of over 14%. This compares with a 1% fatality rate by both Australian and NZ troops in Vietnam.

On our final travelling day, we drove on another windy road around to Rapara and then back to Blenheim before continuing onto Christchurch. This took us past the site of some of the old whaling activities in the middle 1800’s. The road to Christchurch follows the coast most of the way to- just south of the town of Kaikoura. It provides some spectacular scenery that `rivals, if not exceeds that of the Great Ocean Road in Victoria. It was difficult not to take photos of every beach, bay and headland. We finally arrived in Christchurch after 6.00 pm but the day was very enjoyable.

We stopped- overnight at Rydges which was very nice, apart from the fact that our room adjoined the lift well and it was difficult to sleep with the sound `of the lifts -going up and down all night. We did a bit of final shopping this morning before heading off to- the airport. I’m finishing this in the Qantas Club in Sydney as our 6.30 pm flight to Melbourne is not now leaving until 8.00 pm.