We drove in lovely sunshine from Punakaiki to Blenheim. It was a 4+ hours drive, our longest to date, to get across to the east coast. We took the coastal route (#6) north to where it turns east just south of Westport. It follows the Buller Valley inland with several magnificent gorges and the usual twists, turns, up & downs and some runs through lovely forest. Alas, we have no pictures of that part of the drive (some of you may be relieved)! This took us to the Wairau Valley, which is Marlborough wine growing country. It was acre after acre of mature vines, very recently planted vines and stacks and stacks of posts for planting new fields. We were flabbergasted by the sheer expanse of the vineyards. All this against a beautiful backdrop of snow capped mountains – a marketer’s dream.
We booked a campground in Blenheim, thinking it would be easy to go into the town centre. Ha – ended up in our least favourite campground with lovely views of an overpass. It was a large campground and there appeared to be permanent residents there. The two trailors behind us had gardens planted around them. It was not easy to get to the town centre and we ended up walking to a very nice homey Italian restaurant for a good dinner. Live and learn.