And we come to the final stage of our NZ road-trip – Martinborough in the Wairarapa region in the south of the North Island – to the north and east of Wellington…does that even make sense? In any case, it’s a part of the north island that I really love – and at just an hour out of Wellington, it’s absolutely accessible from the city. Plus there’s wine, olives, and plenty of places serving great food – it’s no wonder that I love it! Oh, and all the wineries are within about 5kms – and therefore, easily walkable or easily bikeable if you don’t want to taste and drive.
The Martinborough Hotel. This is a gorgeous old hotel that I’ve stayed in previously. While the main part of the hotel is beautifully appointed in a traditional style, being over the weekend I requested a villa out the back so that we’d be away from any late night noise from the bar downstairs. As a result, we heard nothing – except the really spooky Rural Fire Service call/siren that went off in the middle of the night. Hubby thought it was a tsunami warning – even though there’s a mountain range between where we were and Wellington. Don’t tell him that I told you that…
Anyways, here’s a little peek inside our villa
and in the main part of the hotel.
and the view from drinks on the balcony on Friday night.
At Olivo. I could have spent ages in their garden, but the olive oil tasting was what we were there for – and it was, without a doubt, one of the best and most informative tasting experiences that we’ve had. We came away with some olive oil soap and a couple of the infused oils – porcini and lemon – that I’ve already made good use of. I have plans for the porcini oil over some fusilli with maybe some parmesan and walnut…just saying.
Before we left we had a good wander around the garden.
For more information, check out the website.
Before we left the village to go on our tasting adventure we stocked up against potential famines ie we bought a few local cheeses, some venison salami and a baguette. At Te Kairanga we acquired wine and borrowed glasses and ate our picnic feast on the grass – using brown paper bags as plates and the swiss army knife that’s always in the suitcase as cutlery.
It was as fine a picnic as was ever had.
There, that was a surprise, wasn’t it? Seals. that is.
About an hour out of Martinborough, on a road that winds and clings to the coast, is Cape Palliser.
I came here for the first time on my very first trip to New Zealand – maybe around 2004? It was a day trip from Wellington where we went to a number of different filming locations for the Lord of the Rings movies which I was never really into. I was, however into the scenery. I recall the day as being rainy and so cold that the batteries in my camera refused to work. That cold. And the seals stank.
Cape Palliser, you see, is home to a colony of fur seals. It’s also the southern-most point of the north island and is further south than some parts of the south island. Yes, that does make sense. This means that when the wind blows it pretty much last blew in Antarctica.
There’s also a lighthouse with 200 and something steps. I generously (and selflessly) agreed to stay down the bottom so that I could take photos of seals and of Grant as he climbed the steps. Without me offering to do that there would have been no photographic record of him climbing the steps. He’s one of the dots on the steps in the pic above – and he took the pics below.
The country out here is stark and hard. It’s a place where fishing boats are taken in and out by tractors. It’s the type of place that makes you wonder who would live out here – and why…yet at the same time, there’s something so completely elemental about it.
Also out here is a pub that does some of the best fish and chips and seafood chowder you’ll come across – Lake Ferry Hotel. Or maybe it just tasted so good because it was so unexpected…I’m not questioning that too far.
The cheese scones…
Okay, I love a scone, and if there’s anything better than a scone it’s a cheese scone – and these were award winning cheese scones. At Neighbourhood near the square.