Sunday, January 17, 2010
Christchurch to Nelson
We took a bus from Christchurch up the coast to Blenheim, then west to Nelson. Much of the trip was on the ocean and breathtaking. The coast is rugged at times and serene beach at others. The sand was a unique gray color, something like the color of the crushed gravel they put on freshly oiled roads. Along the way and throughout NZ in addition to the sheep farms we have seen deer farms. They have a domestic deer industry that uses the meat and hides. It seems odd to see a herd of deer at the side of the road. They build higher fences to keep the high jumping deer in check.
Along east coast whale watching is a thriving industry. It is possible to take a boat or airplane tour out to see the whales. Unfortunately for us, we were just passing through.
We saw seals that live in this area lounging on the rocks. The driver told us that if the tide is in and the wind just right so that the rocks are not accessible to them, the seals will actually make their way up onto the highway and lay on the side of the road creating a driving hazard.
New Zealand has become a wine making powerhouse. The climate and conditions are just right to make world class Sauvignon Blanc among other varieties. We drove through acres and acres of vineyards in and around Blenheim. It is obvious this is a booming industry by the volume of new vines planted in expanded areas near old vines. It appears the winemakers are finding every available inch of land and also expanding out into previously untilled areas to make this liquid gold.
The photo is from the Botanical Gardens in Christchurch.