Bubbly Grape Wine Tours, Blenheim

I like a good name and tagline so ‘Bubbly Grape Wine Tours – we’ll drive you to drink’ had me at the start. Drive us to drink they did – our Gourmet Wine Lunch Tour took us to 6 cellar doors for tastings and lunch at Brancott Estate.

When you sign up for a Bubbly Grape Tour they ask if there are any wineries you’d like to visit, there may also be some flexibility on the day, so the summary below just gives an idea of where you could go. Visit Wine Marlborough to see all wineries and cellar doors … Read the rest

Nelson Classic Car Museum

There is some interesting history surrounding the site of the Nelson Classic Car Museum. The land was purchased by the Government in the late 1950’s to build a cotton mill. The mill was never completed and the project was canned, it cost £280,000. The land and mill buildings were sold to Standard Triumph New Zealand in July 1964 for £75,000.

Standard Triumph already had a car plant in Christchurch so the Nelson site allowed for expansion. Triumph 2000, Triumph Herald and Leyland vans were assembled and the first vehicle rolled off the Nelson production line in November 1965. Luxury … Read the rest

Wendelton Guinea Pig Village, Nelson

Guinea pigs aren’t related to pigs and they don’t come from Guinea, they are the domesticated relations of the Brazilian guinea pig. The guinea pigs at Wendelton Guinea Pig Village couldn’t care less, it’s all about friendship and carrots for them.

And carrots are good for them because they’re hard, and guinea pigs teeth are continually growing. However carrot is like cake to guinea pigs, and another guinea pig fact – the little critters can get diabetes, so too much carrot is a no no. They like lots of friends though and are very sociable, so village life must … Read the rest

South Street, Nelson

If you like cute cottages take a wander down historic South Street near Nelson’s town centre. South Street was originally known as Town Acre 456 and the first little cottages were built in the 1860’s.

Over time some of the cottages became run down and in 1981 a few could have been demolished to make way for a motel. However South Street residents campaigned to keep the street intact and today it is recognised and protected as a Heritage Precinct.

To help enhance the character of the street, cobblestone footpaths were laid, overhead wires were removed and placed underground, and … Read the rest

Grand Mercure Nelson Monaco

Grand Mercure Nelson Monaco is at the less unusual end of the unusual accommodation spectrum, but it’s a charming red brick complex built in the style of English terrace houses. The Grand Mercure isn’t in Nelson, but in the suburb of Monaco, it’s five minutes drive from the airport and about 15 minutes drive to Nelson city centre.

The Grand Mercure has a mix of hotel rooms, one bedroom studios and one and two bedroom cottages.

We’re members of the Accor Plus programme and last year I wrote about some of the advantages to membership. One of those advantages … Read the rest

Let’s Buy The Beach New Zealand

Update March 2016: Money received, beach purchased and the process of making it part of Abel Tasman National Park has started. High five Duane and Adam.

Update 24/2/16: Double thumbs up New Zealand – tender offer accepted. Around 10% of pledges in a givealittle campaign aren’t honoured, hopefully this campaign will be different.

Update 12/2/16: The $2,000,000 target was reached on the evening of 12 February, nice one NZ! Pledges can still be made until 3pm Monday 15 February, the total won’t change from two million, so others participating in the tender process won’t know exactly what they’re up … Read the rest

Wearable Art

All sorts of curious items find new life as wearable art – used tea bags, bird wings, and even whole budgies – Budgerigar Brassiere. One designer mentioned half a gallon of Mac’s Gold beer in her materials list although that may have helped fuel her creativity.

It’s not only curious items but also common materials that are turned into stunning wearable art. In 2009 Alaskan carpenter David Walker won the Supreme Award at the World of WearableArt Awards Show (WOW) with ‘Lady of the Wood’. The design is a reproduction of a 17th century ball gown and is made … Read the rest

Tophouse, St Arnaud

Tophouse near St Arnaud was established in 1887 to accommodate drovers travelling between Nelson and Canterbury. Today Tophouse operates as a guesthouse, cafe and tiny bar. The white washed walls cover a mix of cow manure, horse hair, straw and sand used in its construction.

The tiny bar at Tophouse is an addition to the building, it could squeeze in a standing dozen with the front lawn handling the over flow (insect repellent recommended). The bar started serving alcohol again in 2008 after 39 dry years. It was too early in the day to raise a glass for us so … Read the rest

Fish for lunch in Takaka

Anatoki Salmon, 242 McCallum Road, Takaka
You catch it, they’ll smoke it at Anatoki Salmon. We spotted Matty McLean and friends fishing for their lunch – success. The use of fishing gear is free, you pay per kg for the salmon you catch. In November the price was $15 a kilo, from what we saw expect to pay about $22 per fish (includes cleaning and smoking).

I wasn’t keen to give it a go, it seemed a bit like going to the zoo to hunt wild game to me, but I was happy to have salmon sushi in the cafe … Read the rest

Weird and wonderful short walks in Takaka

Weird – The Labyrinth, Scott Road
The Labyrinth consists of a maze like pathway through limestone rock formations. Pick up a brochure at the entrance (or Takaka i-SITE), it helps you find formations that to someone look like The Kissing Pigs, a Troll Bridge, Stegosaurus and plenty more. We’re wondering if the person who identified the formations was high on something other than life at the time. Then there’s the smurfs and plastic toys along the way, we’re probably just not imaginative enough. 

We could kind of make out The Indian’s Face, maybe. Still, it’s an unusual attraction worth a … Read the rest