We disembark the Coastal Pacific train in Blenheim after a scenic and relaxing 5 hour journey with KiwiRail. The place is drenched in sunshine. It’s a perfect winter’s day. The air is still and the bright blue sky stretches as far as the eye can see.
We head across the road to our accommodation for the night at Waterside Motel. Our room has some lovely views over the river.
After a quick rest, we head out to explore the town and have a wander around the shops. We don’t have long here and I want to make the most of the afternoon. It almost feels tropical, there is warmth in the sun, the chill from the morning air has long passed and palm like trees are dotted along the river side. Blenheim enjoys some of the highest annual hours of sunshine in the country and I am certainly enjoying it.
Our walk takes us to Seymour Square. The bell tower is ringing and the water fountain is perfectly symmetrical in the center of the park. Dotted along the back fence is a sea of yellow. It may be winter, but in Blenheim, the daffodils are already out, soaking up the sunshine. Spring is on it’s way.
After enjoying the stillness of The Square for a while, we continue our walk along the river bank. It’s an easy walk and lots of people are out enjoying the place. Cyclists, people on scooters, parents with prams and dogs. Life seems to have a slower pace here. A pace that has time to stop and enjoy the warmth of the sun, or read a book in the park. It is too easy these days to make life super busy. Slowing down and taking time has become an art. One which I would like to learn.
Our next stop is The Wine Station situated right next to, you guessed it, the train station. I noticed it when first arrived in Blenheim and knew I needed to come back here. Marlborough is a well renowned wine region, but we are without a car and only have the afternoon, so visiting the different wineries isn’t really possible. The Wine Station makes it easy. They have about 60 wines from around the region available for tasting. It’s self-service, a bit like a vending machine. You can read the notes about the wine, decide on the tasting size, swipe your card and out comes the wine.
We take a seat on the comfy leather sofas, next to the fire and sample the wines. I try a pinot gris, a riesling and a deliciously sweet and sticky late harvest sav. Its a lovely way to spend the rest of the afternoon, sipping wine and having a laugh.
As we head out to dinner, all the birds are chattering away, settling into the trees for the evening. It’s dusk’s chorus. The town looks pretty at night, with all the twinkling lights. The plan was to go out for a nice dinner, but I hadn’t made any reservations. When we arrived at the restaurant I had picked out, we found it was closed for a private function. So dinner ended up being a takeaway pizza and Netflix. Not what was planned, but it has been an action packed 3 days so a quiet, relaxing evening in turned out to be a lovely alternative.
The next morning we make our way home to Wellington on the shortest flight I have ever been on. A total of 18 minutes! We are on a small plane that seats 50 people and it is flying much lower than what I am used to. This gives us some pretty good views! The sun is making the land golden. It looks as though someone has draped velvet across the valleys and hills. Before I know it, we touch down in Wellington. We are home.