From Abel Tasman we first went to Nelson and then took a longer less mountainous route and quite suddenly found ourselves in Marlborough Valley and had to stop for drinks. We liked the Moa (named after the giant extinct Moa bird) brewery which served a range of ciders and stocked Allen Scott wines from next door. Which suited Jo and me!

We stayed at the town of Picton in a hundred year old house built and owned by an Italian family (so I learned to make a nice cup of latte). The house had a great view of the sea front which is the gateway to the lovely Marlborough Sounds.

We explored trails and walked along the sea and Evan accidentally turned over a rock to discover the fascinating ecosystems of tidal basins. Then it was hard to get Gunaraj and Evan away from the tidal pools. They must have turned over a hundred rocks between them.

I savored the two prized products of the Marlborough Sounds and the Marlborough Valley – green lipped mussels and Cabernet Sauvignon – at every meal, and eventually combined them to cook a nice dish of steamed mussels in wine broth.

We said good bye to Rajeeta and Gunaraj and they headed back to Austin. We enjoyed our time with them. Lucky for us along with farewells came hellos and Utsa, my cousin, dropped in for a few days from Wellington where she lives.

We stopped at the St. Clair family estate with Utsa, enjoyed some great wine and food among the vines, and then set off on a seven hour drive to Christchurch.

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