Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Nikau Reserve Paraparaumu

Nikau Reserve is at Paraparaumu. Dogs are allowed, on leads. The loop walk is an easy walk, or you can go up to the lookout.

Starting out, enjoying the beautiful greenery . . .

It was another hot dayabout 28 degrees (Celcius)so the shade from the Nikaus and trees was wonderful. There was a lovely cool breeze as well.

Then we came to the "Lookout" marker. The sign earlier had said it was a "steep" walk to the lookout. It didn't look too bad from here . . . so we decided to head up to the lookout.

Definitely not too taxing. A lovely walkway with mesh to ensure you don't slip when it's wet.

It was soon apparent that I should have believed the sign. The walkway ended, and the track got steeper. And steeper. Most of the walk was like this.

Steep? Yes, it was.

Then we spied a Keruru lurking in the bush off to the side.

Finally, we reached the top. What a fabulous view! That's Kapiti Island off shore beyond Paraparaumu.

I was feeling very virtuous . . . I'd made it! Then a lady arrived and told us it was her third time up this week. As if that wasn't enough, just as we started to go down, we met another lady who said this was her FIFTH time in a week! Well, I think once was enough for me. The trek to the lookout is certainly an excellent workout.

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Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Lake Domain Reserve, Lake Wairarapa

While visiting the Wairarapa, we stayed at the Lake Domain Reserve on the shores of Lake Wairarapa. It was a great base as we explored the areareasonably close to Featherston and Martinborough.

There was so much room. Most people seemed to prefer to park under the trees, but we chose the lake views and the open ground. It can get quite windy here at the lake, but I think we were strategically placed so that the trees sheltered us a little, even though we were in the open.

Just outside our rig, between us and the lake, was a small area of flaxes and toi tois. These sparrows had plenty to sing about in the setting sun one night.

This is the view from just outside our rig. What you cannot see are the mosquitoes. Several of them committed suicide on our insect screens each night. Some of them, I am sure, managed to wiggle their way through the teeny holes on the screens. Each night we spent some time seeking them out before sleeping. It was just too hot to close the windows.

Looking back at the Domain from further around the lake. I was being harassed by millions of midges, so didn't stay too long in that spot.

In spite of harbouring the wee bugs whose mission in life was to eat us, Lake Wairarapa showed us some fabulous sunsets over the nights we were there.

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Monday, 29 January 2018

Martinborough Wines

There's no way we could be near Martinborough and not sample some of their wonderful wines. We visited the following places over two daysthree or four vineyards in a day is more than enough for me!

Palliser Estate: 
A lovely winery, with some interesting whites. Although the Martinborough area is well known for their Pinot Noirs and I'm normally a red wine drinker by choice, I seemed to prefer the whites, especially the Rieslings. Perhaps it was the hot weather.

Muirlea Rise:

The chap who did the tastings here got the prize for "most entertaining". He had a great sense of humour as you can see by the photo below. But his wines were not to our taste. Except for the port (wine liqueur) called Apres Royalethat was very nice! The reds we tasted came out of the chiller, which I didn't enjoy. Each to his own, and no doubt exactly what others prefer, especially on a hot day.

Margrain Vineyard: 
My favourite. Definitely worth a visit if you're in the area and like your white winesMargrain's are superb. And the Rosé was delicious as well. Not usually a wine of choice for me, but I was pleasantly surprised.

The cellar door was beautifully air conditioned. A welcome respite from the extremely hot day.

Kate was a great hostessknowledgeable and informative. Most of the wines had a page dedicated to describing them written by the winemaker, Strat. These were extremely witty and entertaining as well as informative. I had hoped to link to their website and get the tasting notes from there for you to enjoy, but they appear to be still "coming". In the meantime, if you can enlarge this photo enough, perhaps you can enjoy reading about their Home Block Pinot Noir.

Haythornwaite Wines:

We were able to sit outside with Lucy at this winery and had a charming gentleman serve us with a variety of choices. Usually, Lucy stays in the air-conditioned car (yes, we leave the engine running) so she's usually cooler than we are!

Hamden Estate:
This winery belongs to an old work colleague/friend of Dave's from our Taranaki daysanother David. Although the sign says "closed" as David was about to head off to Wellington, he opened for us so we could visit, catch up and taste his wines. The label is inspired by his three daughters.

Coney Wines:

There's a strong music theme at this picturesque winery.

It's obviously a popular lunch choicethere were plenty of diners here when we arrived. The menu looked interesting and very affordable.

We got to sit outside and enjoy the ambience while tasting their wine selection. Again, more delightfully refreshing whites.

Luna Estate:

Although Luna Estate was a beautiful place, their wines were not as memorable as others we tasted.

Ata Rangi Winery:
Ata Rangi means "dawn sky" or "new beginning".

The lovely young lady who served us here was the daughter of the owner. She had a number of people arrive while we were thereabout elevenand yet she still managed to give each of us individual attention with grace and patience. I was impressed that she did not appear even the slightest bit flustered.

This creatively displayed old vine looked fabulous!

Ata Rangi's Crimson was one of the best Pinot Noirs we tasted today.

Note: Of course, everyone has different tastes and preferences. My comments are really related to how we personally found the wineswe are not experts! We only visited a selection of the vineyards in the area, chosen by Dave. They're all high quality, have different personalities and are worth checking out if you're in Martinborough. But do include Margrain!

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