The Marlborough region on the South Island of New Zealand is a major hotspot for wine. In fact, 80% of New Zealand’s total wine production is in the Marlborough area. So, of course we had to go tasting! We (last minute) booked a four to five hour “medium tour” with Marlborough Wine Tours, stopping at a total of five wineries and even a chocolate factory for the finishing touch.
Everyone told us that Abel Tasman National Park was a must-do / must-see in New Zealand, and I strongly agree! This gorgeous and nearly untouched park spans over dozens of bays of golden sand, 140 sq. miles of lush green bush, crystal turquoise ocean water, and a handful of islands with fur seal pups. We chose to explore both land and sea; first kayaking from Marahau to Anchorage Bay (roughly 4 hours) and then bushwalking/hiking back (12km/8mi – 3 hours). My arms feel like Jell-O as I type this up…
Yesterday, I completed a 19.4 kilometer (12 miles), seven hour hike over the Tongariro Alpine Crossing! It’s said to be New Zealand’s best day hike and I can see why. It was 1°C / 33°F (!!!) with strong winds, and it is definitely the most difficult hike I’ve ever done. Alarm clock at 4:30 am, meeting for the shuttle at 5:25 am, and starting walking at the crack of dawn 6:30 am. Alpine Crossing complete at 1:30 pm. Gnarly!
On the west coast of the North Island lies Raglan, a sleepy surf town with a old town feeling renown for it’s surf. Downtown Raglan is inland set on the harbor, with Wainui Road leading ~ 15 minutes out to Manu Bay and Whale Bay for seemingly endless point breaks. Shaun had been looking forward to coming to Raglan for a long time!