There’s one thing about living in Paradise. In fact there’s many things, but one that seems to be amongst the most important for us is the desire to share it with others and hope they are as excited about it as we are.
So when M told me about a new website and app he had found called Campable, another opportunity presented itself to do just that.
Campable - to those like me who had never heard of it - is a New Zealand booking site for those travelling in motorhomes and the like who want a great place to park up overnight away from the usual camp grounds.
No sooner had he mentioned it and I was off with a dash, with visions of campsites dancing in my head……
Council bylaws soon killed my buzz somewhat. Park more than one RV on your property and you are indeed a campsite, requiring permits and deep pockets.
But one vehicle we could do. Easily and legally.
Within hours we were listed on their website. Within a few more hours we had our first booking.
Now M is a slightly slower burn than me when it comes to these things. What I have in immediate passion and energy, he has in practical details ( i.e the things that make it viable). Where would they park, what would they need, how could we make it a great experience. We went into overdrive and got it all sorted ready for our first ‘guests’. Grass was cut, wine barrels positioned to mark the spot, and sun loungers and picnic bench placed strategically to capture the best vineyard views as well as in shade from the Marlborough sun.
And then we waited.
At 6pm on our first day of ‘operation’, a lovely couple pulled up in a rather flash motorhome. They were regular visitors to New Zealand and were here for a few months - just following the sun around the country with no fixed plans. They were delightful. We met them with the bottle of Fromm Pinot Gris we had just opened to reward ourselves for a few hours of intense activity and poured them a glass, which was very well received.
We shared local information and our views on the best wineries and restaurants to visit. They shared travellers tales.
Then we left them to enjoy their peaceful evening overlooking the vines. And yes, it gave us a great deal of pleasure to see them in the morning relaxing on the loungers and eating their breakfast at the picnic bench before heading to their next resting place.
Now you are never going to find your fortune doing this, but as with most things travel related, it’s not really about the $ - and that was never our intent.
It’s about the experiences - for you and your travelling guests. It’s about story telling. Sharing fresh eggs and the odd bottle of local wine.
It’s sharing your piece of Paradise with the world.
We both like that.
I don't know why I picked 51 - well actually I do - it was at our front gate when I had another ' that view is stunning' moments. It stuck with me. But it could be so many more.
This is my final 11 and again, in no particular order. Every day brings more to add to the list.
41. Escalators. Yes really. The only two in Marlborough - based in the wonderful Clubs of Marlborough. A novelty that attracts visitors.
42. Clubs of Marlborough. If you're not a member , you should be. And not just because of #41 above....
43. Conversations. We have them. Lots of them. With strangers. In the street. In the shops.All over the place.
44. Daffodil Day. The town turned up. It was a mass town event that only small towns can do and do well.
45. Our hospital. Wairau hospital is small but very efficient . It is peaceful. It has more time than bigger city hospitals. Its good to know it's there if you needed it.
46. Wild flowers. At this time of year the Canadian poppy populates the still dry river beds and turns them into a sea of glorious orange. And Verve - the flower farm, makes it easy to spread the wildflower love at home too.
47. Bubbles. Although Marlborough is world famous for its Sauvignon Blanc and increasingly its fabulous Southern Valley Pinot Noir , we also have bubbles. And good bubbles at that. World class, french beating bubbles at No 1 Family Estate.
48. Pollard Park An oasis of outstanding beauty and tranquility in an area of beauty and tranquility.
49. Seasons. We have them. But each is underpinned by being the sunniest place in New Zealand. Official !
50. Picton. A beautiful spot and much more than the "place to catch the ferry".
51. Beauty. we have it in abundance. Whether for the perfect wedding ( an unashamed plug here for my Celebrant work!) or for those lucky enough to call it home. Natural beauty makes things better and enriches lives.
Continuing my cheerleading for this beautiful region ... ( following part 3)
Marlborough cherries - best in the world...!
31. Black garlic . Covered in chocolate ( optional - but delicious !)
32. Cherries . In abundance from November through January . My pick is in Jacksons Road . Heaven .
33. Our old school cinema -like cinemas used to be .
34. The pretty wind fans decorating the Labdscape - and turning into a Dantesque scene during frost season !
35. Arbour restaurant . Great people . Great values . Great food .
36. Olives . Everywhere . No excuses for not having your own healthy olive oil .
37. Blue cross . Great to donate to and also to find bargains .10 cent jam jars - say no more !
38. The Vines Village . Idyllic spot to visit , work ,hangout or just grab a taco (on Tuesday's ) and beer !
39. The people . Even if you're not a 4th generation Malburnian !
40. Blue skies . Summer and winter .
11 to go and hundreds to choose from !
On days like today making a list is easy......
21. Winter days . -1c to start and a calm 16c in the afternoon - brilliantly sunshiney days.
22. The river through town. Great walks and sculptures.
23. Rocco's. Step back in time to this unintentional retro classic restaurant. Think chianti bottles in rafia and huge portions of 70's classics and you're in heaven!
24. Pinecones. Massive ones. On sale at the roadside. Perfect for Christmas or lighting the fire.
25. Rarangi Beach . Underrated by locals but a fabulous walk on the wild side :)
26. Marlborough Airport . Has to be the best in New Zealand if not the world! Tiny, personal and $10 a day parking.Bliss.
27. Meater's Butchery. Mike (the owner) who I met on my first day in Marborough. He slipped some sausages and bacon into my bag and said to enjoy breakfast on him. I hear this is a common act of kindness from Mike. Awesome service and even better meat.
28. Bikes. Lots of flat roads lend themselves to lots of bikes. Lovely to see visitors with their baskets full of wine as they tour the local wineries.
29. Makana chocolates. Willy Wonka eat your heart out. Watch chocolates being made and taste samples. Marlborough sea salt caramels. Yum.
30. ASB Theatre. We have a fabulous theatre here - way more than you expect for a small town. Go Blenheim!!
11. Our Farmers Market . The best in produce from the area. Especially love Leah's freshly made cakes and bread from Mississippi Herbs , Cheese from Dan at Kaikoura Cheese and the best organic blueberries in the world from Windsong Orchard
12. The number of roundabouts ( or lack of them) !
13. Staying with the traffic theme. No traffic lights ! It took me a while to see what I was missing while driving through town!
14. The Wairau River. Icy glacial blue and fiercely beautiful. A wonderful walking companion.
15. Muffins at Saint Clair vineyard. In fact all the food and wine is great, as is the location, but the muffins are spectacular and worth a morning coffee visit !
16. The '10 minute' Blenheim travel mystery. Everywhere is within 10 minutes. How is that even possible....
17. Shops that still shut on Saturday afternoons.
18. The abundance of roadside olives - an untapped industry in itself.
19. Our local ( free) papers. Everything you need to know!
20. The abundance of cafe's and baking on site. From scratch. Not mixes. Heaven :)
Searching for the Good Life
Kia Ora and welcome. Since we moved to New Zealand’s South Island, to our little bit of paradise , I’ve been regularly asked by friends all over the world – why we did it, are we coping, do we miss city life and when will we be back, amongst other things. So I decided to start a blog to capture some of the stories and funny things that happen on an almost daily basis – as well as share my interpretation of ‘ the good life’ – mixed in with recipes using what’s available in the gardens, and wine . Lots of wine. Thanks for joining us.