Over the Hill

In early Feb, we got a visit from the fabulous Jayne and Ian, all the way from England. Smart of them to choose that time of year, as it’s a great time to escape the Northern Hemisphere, and late summer is perfect for a visit to NZ. We got very lucky with our weather overall, and they got to see our new(ish) house for the first time. A certain dog was very excited for all the extra attention from his grandparents.

They flew in on a weekend and had about a week to settle in and explore Welly and Upper Hutt with us. Even better, they helped out with our garden, since Jayne has experience with plants of all varieties – I see where Andy gets his knack for it. We took some walks, had copious amounts of food and drink, played loads of games and generally enjoyed ourselves. Come Friday, it was time to head off on an adventure over the hill to the Wairarapa region. First stop, Martinborough and our favorite holiday house in an olive grove!


You’ve all seen it by day, and now, for something completely different! I thought it was a good time to break out the tripod and give my camera a test run at night. I’ve been neglecting night photography for a while and really want to get back into it. To do that, I need to learn more about how my camera works in low lighting. I had it figured out with my old camera, but it’s about time I get it down with this one.



Bear with the semi-blurry photos of an incredible moon and illuminated trees – you get the idea that it was pretty epic.

Vallhunds are hard to keep still with a camera set to multi-second exposures on a tripod! As proof, here is a Vall-ghost, guarding the door.


Sometimes you can miraculously get both your partner and dog to stand still at the same time.


Can’t beat this spot! We could hear owls calling in the distance and see bright stars overhead. To top it all off, the owners put a new hammock into the olive grove, so we had to fight over that.

The next morning, we were up with a pep in our step for a day of touring the wineries. We set off on foot just before midday, passing my favorite rural scene (ok, I have a few).



The sky looked a little ominous, but we were hoping the rain would hold off, at least until we were inside with a glass of wine.



First up was Te Kairanga (TK) for some tasting.



Who wouldn’t be smiling, having their first taste of wine before noon?


Of course we had to take a photo with this epic wall by street artist Andrew J Steel. He’s done a lot of cool work around Wellington and other parts of NZ, and it was awesome to see it at a vineyard.


Back on the long, straight road, it was time to head to Poppies for a fabulous lunch.


You’ve seen it all before, so I won’t make you drool! Ok… maybe one photo of the lot of us.


We are the kind of unparalelled happy you can only be prior to digging into a giant plate of food, with a glass of delicious wine in hand. Once we’d scoffed it all and some dessert as well, it was back on the road to walk off a food coma.

Poppies behind us (until next time), we headed to Luna Estate. Passing another favorite scene on the way, I had to stop for hay bale photos. Every time you’re here, something small changes, begging you to take more and more photos. I’m going to end up with hundreds of some of these spots.


Check out this man outstanding in his field.


My turn!

We had another tasting at Luna – some vineyards allow you to buy glasses of wine without food, while others are only licensed for tastings. I have to admit, your tastebuds do start to get fuzzy after a while and it all begins to taste the same, especially after Poppies’ unbeatable late harvest riesling.


After Luna, we meandered roughly in the direction of our bach.



As you can see, we had to contend with the busy highways of Martinborough.


What’s that? More wine! Who can resist vino and beanbags, like Colombo offers? It just so happened to be “on our way” back.


Ok, now we were really headed home.



The moody skies made for some stunning photo ops.


Even the driveway to our house had some great views.


Higgs was pleased to welcome us back, having guarded the olive grove all day, from sheep and other would-be infiltrators.


But don’t touch his bone!


I jumped in the hammock and had a cozy afternoon nap, which is 100% necessary on a day beginning with wine at 11 am.



After we all had some rest, we spent a lovely evening playing games and lounging. Oh yeah, and eating even more food! We had a big day ahead of us. Speaking of that, stay tuned for the beautiful, magical, unparalleled Patuna Chasm as we trek into the unknown. Trust me – you’ve never seen anything like it!

2 thoughts on “Over the Hill

  1. One gorgeous picture after another. Brings back memories of our trek through the wineries there. I especially like the night pictures. What a wonderful trip.


  2. What Dad said! Those photos were terrific. The pic toward the end, the one with “moody skies” underneath, may be my favorite. All of them brought me back to our fabulous stay there. And ghost Higgs – hilariously scary.


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