First stop on the Kiwi Experience-express! I hopped on the bus in the early morning in downtown Christchurch and would spend the next month hopping around New Zealand with a bus load of mostly 19 year old Brits fresh out of High School. I was quickly adopted by the group as the older well traveled brother and was happy to fall in love with The Snake Bite…a British favorite: pint half filled with lager, cider and red currant.
On our first day we drove north from Christchurch to Kaikoura along the east coast of the South Island. The shore was beautiful and reminded me of Canada’s Pacific coastline. Kaikoura is famous for its whale watching, dolphin swimming and seal spotting. In the local indigenous language of the Maori, kai means “eat” and koura is “crayfish”. So Kaikoura is a great place to eat crayfish!
The following day we continued north to the city of Nelson which sits right in the center of New Zealand’s ever so famous Marlborough Vineland. Some of the worlds most famous Sauvignon Blanc’s are grown at this wineries! We stopped at a winery outside of the port town of Picton. I sampled several flights of the wineries most famous vintages and then sat by the pond overlooking the surrounding rolling hills.
We arrived in the city of Nelson in the evening and hung out at the hostel that evening as our accommodation was attached to a local brewpub which was doing a beer tasting that evening. The following morning we left Nelson and traveled to the west coast of the island stopping off at a beautiful national park spotted with lakes and mountainous mystique. In the evening we visited the local grocery store and I found a huge selection of lamb roasts which were incredibly affordable and ever so essentially Kiwi. I also purchased a few Kiwi fruits and the national Feijoa. The Feijoa (also known as the pineapple guava) is eaten by cutting it in half and scooping out the soft and tart green filling with a spoon. The Kiwi’s also have a national vodka infused with Feijoa. Hobbit’s love this fruit!