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Touring New Zealand 2016 - part 18

The Journey from Wanaka through South and North Island and back to the UK

This part is going tobe kept very short as it is mostly travelling quickly up from Wanaka through South Island to Picton to catch the Interislander Ferry and then up through North Island to catch the ferry to Waiheke to see family and leave much of our kit with them for next year. Most of the journey has been documented several times before and will be passed over with the addition of a few new pictures. There were also visits to two new wineries which have won ANZ Trophies namely Yealands Estate and Johanneshof Cellars- we have added pictures and intend to document them more fully at some point.

Monday 28 March

Wanaka, Lake Putiki, Lake Tekapo, Ashley Gorge

Tuesday 29 March

Kaikoura and Coast Road witha brief stop to look at the seals, Yealands Winery (to be expanded), Spring Creek Campsite for the night.

Yealands Winery On the way to the Camp Site at Spring Creek we stoped for an ice-cream and whilst eating it we noticed a sign to Yealand's Winery. We had two of the Yealands Trophy wines already from a supermarket and decided we should have a look at the winery. Yealands was the only winemakers to get two Trophy Wines out of only 16 Trophies awarded, a quite exceptional performance for what is a huge commercial enterprise.

Wednesday 30th March

In the morning we had time to do a quick run into the Vineyard area before heading for Picton and the ferry. We already had too much wine but we could not resist stopping at at the St Clair Winery for a Block 17 Merlot which was the Trophy Red wine and at Nautilus Winery for another bottle of their trophy non vintage sparkling wine.

The Safe Air Argosy: We then went to see the Argosy which used to be operated by Safe Air which is outside a restaurant opposite Woodburn airport. It has been tidied up and preserved a lot although it is unlikely to every be restored enough to fly – all the electronics were taken out by chopping through the wiring. We have written about it previously and bought a book on Safe Air on a previous visit. Last time we spent the best part of an hour on board, much of it watching the video of Safe Air and the last flight of the Argosy and bought a copy – all in a good cause as well as being interesting. Safe Air Developed a palate system for freight and also had a clever Passenger Module which was loaded into the aircraft when required in place of some of the freight palettes. This time only Pete went in but he found the escape hatch had been removed from the upper deck allowing for some interetsing views from the top.

Johanneshof Cellars : We stopped at the Johanneshof Winery on our way to the port at Picton. It was an absolute contrast to Yealands being a very small family wine business making first class and very individual wines which also win many prizes despite the small scale. The won an ANZ Trophy for this years Gewurtztramminer which we bought a bottle of as well as sampling a few of their other wines. We talked for some time to them but could not look round the winery which is usually possible as they were making wine at the time. They are another winemaker who we would probably have not discovered if it had not been for the ANZ wine awards and one which I am sure we will visit again, especially as they are on the road from the port and we pass then almost every time we travel South.

Picton, Ferry and Levin

Thursday 31 March

Foxton: Our first stop after leaving Levin was at Foxton. The centre of Foxton is well off to the side of the main road so one normally bypasses it but it is well worth the diversion. They have restoring the area down towards the river where there used to be a major port complex with many wharfs according to all the information boards. We spent a while exploring the area and then took their short boardwalk. The town have started getting Murals on the walls in the style of Katikati which also makes for an interesting walk. The highlight however is the wind mill which was only built a few years ago using knowledge help and some materials from Holland. It is run whenever the flour stocks are low and the wind is the right strength. We bought a big bag of the stone ground flour for Christine.

Wanganui, Riverboats - chat with Dave, The Whanaganui River Road and Raetehi

Friday 1 April

Bridge Refurbishment, National Park, Raurimu Spiral, Taumaranui and Rotorua

Saturday 2 April

Rotorua, Book Fair and Farmers Market, lunch at Thai Restaurant and Dinner at the Pig and Whistle.

Sunday 3rd April

Clocks changed and early leave for Waiheke

Monday 4 April - Tuesday 5 April

Waiheke packing

Wednesday 6 April

Visit to see Dotterels

Thusday 7 April

Returned Van and stayed at Ibis Budget at Airport

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Content revised: 22nd April, 2016