Church Road Winery: Behind The Scenes Tour

On the way back home to Wellington while on a recent roadtrip up north, we passed by the Hawke’s Bay region — known for it’s beaches, warm weather and many wineries. We were there for the wine, as it was already the last few days of autumn and the cold had already set in even if winter hadn’t officially started yet, which meant no beaching and basking in nice balmy weather.

We booked ourselves to do a short wine tour at Church Road winery. We were lucky as we were able to make a last minute booking on the same day we wanted to do the tour… maybe because it was off season and there were lesser visitors. I’m not sure if that would have been possible during the summer time when there would be more people coming into the region.

We started at the cellar door — the wine tasting room where you can sample the winery’s range and discuss the different wines with one of the knowledgeable staff. In Church Road, the cellar door was also where the restaurant was located.

*The oak barrels in the restaurant was a nice touch and added a nice rustic feel to the place.

Our guide, Rebecca, handed each of us a wine glass before we began, then we followed her out the main doors and into the sunshine to commence the tour.

We stood by a wide open grass field just in front of the building, which we were told, was once where the grapes were planted but because the soil wasn’t very good, they were then moved to different locations and the area now serves as a perfect setting for outdoor events and concerts.

In the above photo: My close friend’s Aunt Stella who was visiting NZ all the way from the Philippines.

Rebecca talked about the history of Church Road; about it’s original founder/owner Bartholomew Steinmetz who later on returned to his native Luxembourg to marry, leaving his winery in the hands of the 19 year old Tom McDonald who had been working for him since his early teens and who later on bought the winery and proceeded to make the first quality red wines in NZ. She also talked about the changes in ownership the boutique winery has gone through over the years…the latest owner being Pernot Ricard, producers of well known products such as Absolut vodka and Kahlua.

After the brief history talk, we were then shown around different areas of the winery while Rebecca explained to us the technicalities involved in the wine making process. We also had a sample of two of the wines (one red and one white) straight from the tanks.

*The Cuve Room: Juice from pressed grapes get transferred into the big oak barrels. Yeast is then added and the fermentation process begins.

*Wooden stairs leading to the top of the oak barrels. Maintaining accurate temperature is key during this process and so workers regularly do their checks while the wine is fermenting.

*Cabernet Merlot Sauvignon straight from the tank!

*The wine is put into oak barrels to age. Church Road normally uses French Oak for their chardonnay. They normally cost at least $800/barrel but can go up to $3,000 depending on quality.

We were also brought down to their wine museum (the only one in NZ we were told) located underground in what used to be concrete vats — where wine was fermented in the olden days. The only reminder of it’s past usage is the faint sparkling left behind in the walls from the tartaric acid of the wine and a small hole on top of the ceiling that has now been covered, where the workers used to go in to check the wine while it was fermenting.

We walked around the small space, viewing the exhibit on offer with Rebecca telling us facts and information about wine making in the olden days as well as relating it to the process of making wine today.

Once we were done with the museum tour, we headed back to the Tom Mcdonald cellar for the last part of our tour… food and wine pairing!

We were each given a glass of champagne to start off and then we got to taste six wines in total… three reds and three whites, paired with bite sized food offerings with Rebecca facilitating and providing information in between our sampling.

*Our two favorites were the McDonald series Pinot Gris 2017 and the Grand Reserve Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2014.

*You can buy a bottle (or two) from the wines on display inside the Tom Mcdonald cellar, just to right from the entrance.

All in all a very wonderful experience and we had such a great time! Cannot wait for summer when we can do more winery tastings paired with some nice warm sunny weather!

Hobbiton NZ 🌍

“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.” J.R.R Tolkien

Binged watched both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Trilogy movies with Jan recently and was inspired to do this post. 

Welcome to “Hobbiton” — home to Bilbo and Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee, hobbits of The Shire.

The area used as a filming location for the LOTR and The Hobbit movies is a family owned farm situated in Matamata New Zealand (In the North Island).

After filming for the last of The Hobbit movie was done, the set was left in place and is now a popular tourist destination in the Waikato Region.

(Almost three years ago) We did the movie set tour in Hobbiton. During the tour, an appointed guide took us around the site and told us fun facts about the filming process that took place as well as pointing out key things in the area that were significant to the LOTR and The Hobbit movies.

*The “Party Tree” where Bilbo did his speech during his birthday celebration prior to leaving The Shire.

*Bag End. Home of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins.

*One of forty-four Hobbit homes left intact after filming of the movies.

*Winding pathways going around Hobbiton.

Our tour ended at the Green Dragon Inn with a complimentary drink included with the tour.

“The world is not in your books and maps… It is out there.” – Gandalf

Takapuna Beach NZ πŸŒ

Went up to Auckland recently to watch the coldplay concert and spend some time with good ‘ol friends (The concert was AWESOME btw). The day after the concert, we had lunch at Takapuna beach.

It was such a wonderful day… warm sunshine, warm summer breeze, good food and even better company… It was a nice way to chill after the hungover from all the fun the night before.

Ordered Iced coffee as I was in desperate need of some caffeine and was pleasantly surprised to be given this!

You get to mix the espresso and milk into vanilla ice cream instead of just ice… this was sooooooo good! Yum!

After we ate.. we went walking by the beach for a little bit as it was such a lovely day.

Of course we couldn’t resist taking photos as well!

So… next time you’re in Auckland and wanting some chill time by the beach.. you now know where to go πŸ˜‰

Note: For information on how to get here, just go to this link http://www.takapunabeach.co.nz/site/webpages/discover-takapuna-beach/getting-there.

Red Rocks Reserve: Wellington NZ πŸŒ

“Maori folklore tells two stories relating to the color of these rocks. In one, Kupe – the famous Polynesian explorer – was gathering Paua ( large edible sea snails ) here when one clamped his hand. He bled and stained the rocks red.

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In the other story, the red is the blood of Kupe’s daughters. Fearing for their father’s safety on a long voyage, they gashed themselves in grief over his absence.” – newzealand.com

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The Red Rocks Reserve is a coastal walkway located at Owhiro Bay, Wellington NZ. It generally takes about two hours ( return ) to do the walk. About 30-40 minutes going to where the red rocks are and then another 30 minutes to continue on a bit further to Sinclair Head to get a glimpse of the New Zealand fur seal colony. Then an hours walk to go all the way back to where you started. Although I think the time it takes to do the walk will really be different for everyone. Some may do it faster than others… it really depends on how physically fit you are and what pace you are aiming at.

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WHAT TO EXPECT:

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RUGGED TERRAIN — You’ll be walking on sand and stones. Make sure to wear appropriate footwear like sneakers ( or rubber shoes ). Wear comfortable clothing as well.

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BEAUTIFUL VIEWS — You could easily get pre-occupied with just doing the walk and finishing it. When it gets a bit tiring, take a breather, look around and appreciate what’s around you.

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MILD TO STRONG WINDS (It IS Wellington after all) — A windproof hoodie with good insulation is a good accessory to have as it can get really windy and cold in the late afternoon (especially if you’re doing the walk in winter). When we did our walk, the wind was strong enough to actually blast some of the sand and pebbles on the side of our faces!

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GOOD EXERCISE — Red Rocks is considered as an easy walk… still, that’s about two hours of proper walking… that’s good exercise if you ask me. You could always jog or run as well if that’s more suited to your activity level. Within the area is also where the Taputeranga Marine Reserve is located where you can go snorkelling or diving. See here for more information http://www.doc.govt.nz/Documents/conservation/marine-and-coastal/marine-protected-areas/taputeranga-marine-reserve-brochure.pdf.

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THE SEALS — Generally the seals are just lying and resting on top of the rocks and are harmless. Be cautious in approaching them though and don’t get TOO close. I got one of the seals all flustered and roaring at me when I got too close for comfort. That was quite a scare.

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HOW TO GET HERE:

Drive: It’s about 25 minutes drive from the city center down to Owhiro Bay.

Bus: “You can catch bus number 1 to Island Bay and get off at the last stop and walk around the coast via the Bach Cafe and Owhiro Bay Parade. This adds a 2 kilometre walk before the start of the walkway. The are buses to Happy Valley, number 4, during the week which take you closer, as does the Southern Shopper bus (number 29) which takes an awkward route from the Hospital, through Newtown, Berhampore, Kingston, Brooklyn and Happy Valley to end at Island Bay shops.” – newzealand.com 

Source: I got some of the information found here at http://www.newzealand.com/int/feature/red-rocks-reserve/

P.S. Share this post if you found it helpful! Also, love sharing content and stories on facebook! Follow me at https://www.facebook.com/wanderingdaydreamer1004/. See yah! πŸ™‚

 

 

10 photos to sum up our Abel-Tasman experience.

Spending Christmas last year in this paradise was the BEST idea ever ❀

Note: I would like to thank my friend Dorothy Sanchez for some of her photos that are posted here.😊❀️

  1. The 10 minute walk from Medlands Beach to Bark Bay.

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2. A good dose of greenery and sparkling blue waters along the way.

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3. The swing bridge when you do the waterfall trail from Bark Bay ( About an hour one way ).

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4. The waterfall

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5. The water’s cold!

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6. Rest and a picnic on top of some boulders.

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7. Relaxing and soaking up the sun after all the walking.

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8. Fun under the sun! We love the beach!

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9. The Sandbar

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10. White sands… Crystal clear waters… Not too crowded. We absolutely love this place!

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Staglands Wildlife Reserve NZ

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Deer running down the hill for feed time — Staglands Wildlife Reserve

It was the Queen’s birthday long weekend and we ( me, my boyfriend and our close friend and flatmate) were thinking up stuff to do as we had another friend who was visiting us from out of town. I had been to Staglands Wildlife Reserve before and had enjoyed the experience so I brought that up with them as they haven’t been there yet and they all agreed to check it out.

On the day that we went, it took us about an hour by car from Wellington CBD to get to the reserve and we had to pass through some really windy and narrow (and a bit risky in my opinion) roads to get there… but the drive was worth it.

We payed 20NZD each to enter the reserve and we also bought a bag of Animal food for 2.50NZD. For more details on pricing, click this link: http://www.staglands.co.nz/wellington-attractions/hours-prices

The lovely lady at the counter also gave us a map of the place before we went in so that it was easier to walk our way through the reserve.

The first spot on the map just behind the entrance way was the picnic area. Here we could already see some ducks, geese and peacocks just milling around. We fed the ducks and geese some food and then continued on our way.

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We then passed by some swans — they reminded me of the Ugly Duckling story. There were also black swans in another section of the reserve but I was just not able to take any photos of them. They’re quite more mean too those black ones. Ha.

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There is a section in the reserve where the Kune Kune pigs are. The big ones are inside an enclosure… but we found some baby kune kune pigs just walking around freely.

This is a photo of our friend with one of the baby pigs.

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This one is a photo of me 2 years earlier with some baby kune kune pigs as well during my first visit to Staglands.

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Another old photo of me at the stables πŸ™‚

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Across the barn area of the reserve is this beautiful view… ❀ The barn area is where people can have picnics and use the bbq during summer time.

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Another highlight of Staglands is their trout pool which has both the brown and rainbow trouts.

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The fishes here are HUGE!!!

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Staglands also has different Aviaries spread out around the area where you can get to see birds of different kinds. Just like these ones at the bottom!

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And then… there’s the SECRET GARDEN, which is one of my favorite spots here. It just feels a bit like you’re entering a different world when you’re in here.

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There are some pretty cute bunnies in here too!

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We also had a bit of fun in the Old Bush Settlement where you get to see and experience how people lived in the past.

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This is me and the boyfriend playing around with some stuff :p

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And at the end… is the croft and the deer park.

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This little cow over here is a darling… cuddles up to you to get some food! Haha!

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The deer were freely roaming around in the deer park. They were quite shy animals though and generally moved away when we tried get quite close.

Within the deer farm, we noticed that there was a little path where we can hike up the hill a little bit. We went up there to get a little bit closer to the deer who were up the hill and also to have a good view of the ground below just like the photo at the bottom!

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Nelson New Zealand: Interislander Ferry Views.❀️

Happy 2016 to all! This post will be part of a series of posts that I will be doing about our lovely summer Christmas holiday in Nelson. I was initially a bit confused on how I was going to go about writing this… in the end I decided to just break it into the different highlights of the trip rather than making very detailed and lengthy daily posts that might be a bit of a bore to read. If you think it’s a better idea to write down all that transpired from the start to the end of each day, please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below. New ideas or writing tips are always appreciated! Alright, on with the post!😊

Our trip officially started when went aboard the Interislander Ferry bound for Nelson on the morning of the 24th. We were taking the ferry as we had never tried riding the Interislander from Wellington to Picton before and we had heard stories from people we know that it’s one to try due to the views. The journey takes three hours and passes by Pencarrow Head, Cook Straight, Marlborough Sound, Tory Channel and Queen Charlotte Sound.

Here is a link from the Interislander website that will show you a more detailed look about the voyage —->  https://www.interislander.co.nz/The-Voyage/Index.aspx#content

I experienced a bit of sea sickness in the middle of our journey, however, I was able to take some anti-nausea medicine (which was available in the ferry store) so I was still able to enjoy most of my time on the boat especially once we entered Marlborough Sound going to Queen Charlotte Sound. The site that greeted us was amazing!❀️




 

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Beautiful right? For those of you who haven’t tried the ferry trip from Wellington to Picton yet, I definitely recommend giving it a go (even if it’s just once if you really are not a boat person). It would be a nice tick off your bucket list πŸ˜‰

Note: I left the photos unedited because I seem to like looking at them “untouched” and natural at the moment πŸ™‚

Wellington Waterfront: Day and Night

I was browsing through old photos for my next blog post when I stumbled upon these and thought that I would post them instead.

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These are photos that I took from the viewing deck of Te Papa Museum Wellington. They’re not the best of quality as I only took them with my Iphone at the time but I just find it amusing that I was able to take a “day photo” and an “evening photo” of more or less the same angle on totally different days without even realizing until now. I guess that just shows how much I like coming here!

The viewing deck is located on the top most floor of the museum. Go to the lifts located near the information area and then head up to the sixth floor. When you go out the glass doors, you will be greeted with a fantastic view of the waterfront.

This place is one of my few favorite spots here in Wellington. The view from up here is beautiful and whenever I’m showing a friend around who’s in the city for the first time, I always bring them up here when doing the mandatory trip to Te Papa Museum.

What about you? Any special spots in your city you want to share?😊