To the North Island… tally ho!

My vineyard workaway venture ended last Friday, and I came back to Christchurch for the holiday weekend (the Queen’s birthday).  Pete and Maura surprised me with a farewell/thank you bottle of 2011 Pinot Noir from their vineyard! So sweet! Definitely not expecting that at all. Rich came up & we visited a few of the region’s better wineries before heading back to Christchurch.

Image

There were still a few areas of the city I had yet to see, one of which was the drive over the Port Hills (an cyclist’s happy place) to Governor’s Bay, at the top of which you can see nearly all of Lyttleton Harbor (the main port through which all the cargo ships enter the South Island). And… it’s also the home of She Chocolat (pronounced “shay”), a well-known gourmet chocolatier in the area (a slightly pricey, might I add). Still worth a visit, though!

Originally, I was supposed to head back to the Marlborough region to another workaway   host, a family owned & operated lodge along the Nydia Bay track in the Pelorus Sounds (gorgeous). Unfortunately, due to a family emergency, they had to cancel their commitments for the next couple of weeks…. so, I’m now headed up to Wellington for a few days.

The capital of New Zealand, Wellington is supposed to be quite a bit of fun to explore and learn about NZ history/culture.  It’s located at the base of the North Island, and you can either fly or ferry over from the South Island, a ferry ride being about 3.5 hours. I opted for the ferry ride, as the route travels through a large chunk of the Marlborough Sounds– much of which is completely inaccessible other than via boat (even hiking– there are only a few tracks open to the public).  Four main Sounds make up the entire Marlborough Sounds region: the Queen Charlotte, Pelorus, Kenepuru and Mahau.  There is a track the runs the length of the Queen Charlotte one, and it’s supposed to be stunning. (weather and time-wise, an endeavor I may have to postpone until my hopeful return).  The sheer amount of little coves and waterways that make up the Sounds is amazing– they actually comprise one-fifth of the entire NZ coastline. Quite impressive.

sounds-map

Image

Back to Wellington, turns out the Jazz Festival is going on this weekend– heck yes! Kiwi and international artists galore, venues are hosting both free (yes, please) & paid shows all over town… shall be a good time, I’m sure. Hoping to meet some new people in the area; couchsurf is an awesome resource (and legit, if you check people’s identity validations) for others looking to do the same. Chatted with a girl today who was unable to host me, but keen to meet up for coffee & show me around the city a bit.

Not quite sure yet how long I will stay in Wellington; I’m currently checking into one more possible workaway opportunity near the Bay of Plenty, almost halfway between Wellington & Auckland along the east coast of the North Island. Otherwise, there are plenty of things to see and get into not too far away, so maybe I will just continue my quest northward…

P.S. Here’s a sweet little sunset shot for ya 🙂

IMG_2861

Off to the Vineyards… to work, this time

I am officially on my latest workaway venture– this time, a vineyard in Waipara (an area about an hour north of Christchurch).  The region is smaller than Blenheim’s wine region, but still produce some wines of great quality– Pinot Noir & Riesling being what the region is more known for. During my two-week stay, I will attempt to absorb as much knowledge about vineyards & wine-making as possible (in addition to some sampling, I’m sure.. hehe).  Peter and Maura, my host couple, live smack in the middle of several vineyards, but within cycling distance of the nearest town.  Maura works at the Police Station in Christchurch, and Pete works primarily on the vineyard. They have 16 acres (definitely a smaller vineyard), but grow high quality grapes of four varieties: Pinot Noir (about 60% of total production), Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, and Riesling. So far I have unclipped trellis wires, pruned vines, and tied pruned vines.

trellis clips

Trellis clip

IMG_2676

YEAH, I tied that. Bam.

Check out these gum boots! And the fanny pack!

Check out these gum boots! And the fanny pack!

Not a bad gig. Or view, for that matter.  As my computer will not work on the wireless network here, it’s also been a good break from things I usually distract myself with… definitely a good thinking and journaling space.

Last fall leaves

Last fall leaves

First snow!

First snow!

This is what I woke up to!

This is what I woke up to!

Nearly too perfect to be real

Nearly too perfect to be real

IMG_2671

Taylor, my… helper?

 

Weather has been kinda wacky around here the last week– we even got  a dusting of snow yesterday morning– so this is the first nice day I’ve had to get some work in the vineyard done early enough to bike into town and also to the winery to which Pete & Maura sell their grapes, Pegasus Bay. I spent about an hour & a half in the cellar room tasting amazing wines & chatting with the German lady who has been working there for nearly 20 years– and still loves it. Speaks well of the business.

Maybe I will try to get a job here if I come back on a work visa in a few months…. wink wink 😉