Disclaimer: We take no responsibility if, upon viewing this post, you immediately go and book a trip straight to New Zealand… it would actually be completely understandable!
We spent 10 days exploring South Island and every location seemed to be more beautiful than the next. The pictures don’t even begin to do it justice. Every time you opened your eyes, it was hard to believe you weren’t staring at a large painting.
We had fantastic weather and packed our time in Kiwi-land with some great activities – a bit of wine tasting, kayaking, cruising with dolphins, horse trekking, whitewater rafting, helicopter touring and a whole lot of scenic photo stops. So here we go…(video highlights still to come)
Christchurch -> Lake Pukaki/Mt Cook -> Queenstown
Queenstown -> Te Anu -> Milford Sound
Milford Sound -> Queenstown -> Lake Wanaka
Franz Josef Glacier -> Arthur’s Pass -> Back to Christchurch
It’s a brand new year. We’re back at work with a few more memories and a few more pounds [to be shed]. We decided that we wouldn’t go back to the states for Christmas. It was the second Christmas in a row (and ever) that we’ve spent away from family and while still sad in ways, we had a wonderful time with friends exploring more of this country – that was the whole point of coming out here right?
So what did we do?… A long weekend of wine tasting in Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale (South Australia), another Aussie Christmas with friends waking up to presents and spending the afternoon at the beach, Tasmania with a couple old friends visiting from the states and topped everything off with a spontaneous afternoon cliff jumping into beautiful clear Aussie water. We continue to feel grateful for all we have and are determined not to waste these moments.
Now, let’s get to what you really want…the pictures!
Our holiday continues. Yesterday we decided to take advantage of the good weather by driving out to Mornington Peninsula for the day. Mornington is about an hour outside of Melbourne. The area is known for its beaches, hot springs, seasonal restaurants and wineries.
Our first stop was Sunnyridge Strawberry Farm to pick up some tasty treats and sample the fruit. Ben also purchased some local cider. Then, it was on to the real stuff – the wine!
For a day of wine tasting, it’s a good rule of thumb to visit three wineries with a meal in between stops. This allows you plenty of time for tasting and enjoying a glass(es) of your favourite without feeling rushed. We stretched ourselves a bit and sampled four wineries with a fifth for lunch so that we could enjoy another glass with our meal.
I use the term “we” loosely. Ben was driving, so he limited his wine consumption to a minimum. Therefore, he spent most of the day driving me from winery to winery allowing me to drink and purchase – such a wonderful husband! Though, I think this arrangement was also his strategy of giving himself greater control over my purchases… I’ve been known to become a tad enthusiastic with buying wines that I enjoy 😉
Mornington is known for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. I’m a big fan of Pinot Noir but generally do not enjoy Chardonnay. However, I was pleasantly surprised to come upon more than a couple bottles of Chardonnay that I really enjoyed. We made our rounds through Eldridge Estate, T’Gallant (lunch), 10 Minutes by Tractor (10X), Darling Park and Port Philip Estate.
Eldridge Estate gave us our first taste of Gammay wine and had lovely views from their terrace. We enjoyed the tastings at 10X and definitely plan to go back for a meal at their restaurant. Darling Park had a very large tasting menu but was probably the least favorite of the stops. Port Philip was the largest and had beautiful views which it hides from the road with a large cement wall. Port Philip owns three different estates (Quartier, Port Philip and Kooyang) managed by one wine maker and you can sample all three at this location. I decided Kooyang was my favorite.
We had a great time and are looking forward to future visits to Mornington as well as the many other wine regions of Australia!