We left Christchurch with the intention of staying overnight in Kaikoura – famous as the whale-watching capital of New Zealand. Today was grey and overcast, with lots of heavy showers and cross winds. Kaikoura was much more of a backpacker kind of town than we expected it to be and, as I have already mentioned in previous posts, I am strictly a fair-weather sailor – so we just stopped in the town for some lovely fresh fish and chips, took a few photos of the shoreline as well as some fur seals basking on the rocks, and moved on northwards to Blenheim to spend the night.

At the heart of the Marlborough region, New Zealand’s most famous wine-producing area, no visit to Blenheim would be complete without sampling the delights of at least one or two of the vineyards, to taste some of their award-winning wines. We chose the Nautilus Estate and Wairau River wineries because both of these offered food as well as simple wine-tasting. We are normally red wine drinkers, however as this region grows grapes predominantly for white wine, we had the opportunity to sample some fruity pinot gris, sauvignon blanc and chardonnay wines. We enjoyed a tasty Asian chicken salad and a cheese platter, for a most agreeable day in warm sunshine.