Sirocco the Kakapo, made famous by that YouTube video of his shenanigans, is currently in Wellington!
He’ll be here until the 3rd of September and tickets are at $39.50 for non-members. A bit pricey I think, but for Sirocco I will!
Click on the photo to visit the Zealandia website:
We’ve been here in Wellington for almost a year but we still haven’t been to Wairarapa so that’s where we went for the Queen’s birthday weekend. It was also a good time to take Tidi out for a spin.
The 20 minute drive over the Rimutaka Hills was a bit harrowing for first timers. We really did drive carefully over those tight bends and got a disapproving honk from one of the drivers. But hey, better slow than go flying over the edge of a cliff!
Swan House was where we chose to stay for the weekend - a quiet and secluded B&B on Dublin Street. I say secluded because it was pretty hard to find it reviews for this place except on TravelBug. Would you believe TripAdvisor doesn’t have one?
The place was good. Clean and well-kept with beautiful grounds and an excellent home-cooked breakfast in the morning. We had quite a nice chat with the owners and were a bit sad to hear they were selling the place.
This view is from our window. A beautiful weeping willow just outside.
Martinborough is know for it’s vineyards so we hit a few of them like Brodie Estate, Alana and Vynfields.
We bought a Pinot Noir from Brodie, a Reisling from Alana, and had the nicest time at Vynfields.
This is the view that greeted us at Vynfields. A graceful Victorian bordered by lavender, nestled among the vines.
And their wine tasting procedure was different too. Instead of having someone talk about their different wines, you have to buy a “sampling block” which comes with a laminated paper explaining each wine.
We appreciated it because we could drink the wines at our leisure, instead of gulping everything down trying to keep up with your host. (And it probably drummed up food sales as well.)
If it’s a boutique shopping experience your looking for, then Greytown would probably be for you. We drove into Greytown the next day as just strolled around the shops on the main street. Too bad the B&B already served breakfast as there were some nice cafes we wanted to try.
Since we had time on our hands, we drove all the way to Lake Ferry, a small settlement which had no cellular phone signal whatsoever (for 2degrees anyway).
The not-so-good weather may have contributed to it, but I felt like it was a bleak place on the edge of the earth.. like a frontier of sorts. There was only one place to eat there, the Lake Ferry Hotel, which has been there since 1851. Amazing.
Even more amazing is that I got my shoes wet by a rogue wave while taking a photo. Nice.
We drove on to Cape Palliser which probably another 30 minute drive from Lake Ferry. But don’t worry, you’ll be driving along the coast and the views are amazing!
We went all the way down to the lighthouse & the seal colony but totally missed the Putangirua Pinnacles.
Anyway, here’s the lighthouse. Note the steep & narrow steps going up to it. There were heaps of visitors so we decided against going up.
We just spent more time at the seal colony instead.. Squee alert!
This little one was making all sorts of cute poses and was bravely crawling up to spectators. But not to worry, no one touched them.
The drive back was really exhausting and we were hungry because aside from Lake Ferry Hotel, there wasn’t any cafe or stopover place for miles. We just had a really early dinner (or late lunch) at 5pm and plopped off to bed.
Nothing much to report on Featherston except that R’s boss lives there. We paid them a visit, had a nice cup of tea and toured their enormous garden. I also went home with a baggie of organic garlic, which I might plant for myself sometime soon.
Headed up to Campuestohan Mountain resort today and it was scorching hot! The place was surprisingly nice but I’m afraid we didn’t get to enjoy it that much because of the heat.
The grounds were lovely and very kid-friendly with a huge playground and a bevy of statues of famous characters against a background of a great big log cabin. Very kitschy. Especially the gigantic Islander tsinelas (jandals for the kiwis). LOL..
All your heroes in one place!
In fairness, the Iron Man replica was quite good.
The star of the day was first great-grandson and cutest little boy, Baby S, whose boundless energy was undeterred by the heat. Needless to say he kept everyone entertained the whole time.
But all that cuteness overload wasn’t enough to hold us for long. After a superb lunch of pork, pork and more pork, we all packed up and headed home.
The Mailboat Cruise was the only thing I really wanted to take while in Picton. It’s a 5 hour cruise where you accompany the mail as it gets delivered to all the outlying areas that are accessible only by boat. Only Beachcomber Cruises runs it.
Sightseeing is always a treat but this cruise is different because you get a glimpse of how life is lived by locals in the area.
It was a busy day during our visit and the boat was almost full:
And here are the mail bags, ready to go:
One of the best parts of the cruise was the dolphin pod that was swam close to the boat and gave us a good show. When the skipper revved up the engine and let ‘er rip, they chased the boat around. There were so many of them that it was impossible to count.
One of the mail stops along the way:
In the midst of all the mail deliveries, we stopped for a quick peek at Ship Cove - Capt. Cook’s first landing spot. There’s a monument there now to commemorate this significant event in New Zealand history:
The trip back was quite long (an hour) so I was able to squeeze in a quick snooze. Coffee and tea are available on the boat for free and there were cookies for sale.
The Mailboat Cruise has daily trips (except Sundays) and costs NZ$91 for and adult. A bit too steep initially but totally worth it for 5 hours and all the wonderful things you see. The skipper is also a wonderful tour guide with a story to tell about every nook and cranny of the Sounds.