The pinot noir wonderland - Martinborough / by Marek Charytonowicz

Today was all about crossing the North Island to find the wine region. We are both big fans of pinot noir wine and New Zealand happens to produce some finest ones in the world. And although the large vineyards are on the South Island, the North one has Martinborough - a small wine region in the south, not far from Wellington and equally famous.

The drive was long and a bit strenuous due to the wind that was shaking our little but tall house on wheels at every corner. We crossed great planes and went past the famous Tongariro National Park with three active volcanic mountains Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe, and Tongariro.

We stopped for a coffee and a camper made sandwich once or twice and even visited the Gumboot Capital of the World - Taihape. 

We reached Martinborough in the late afternoon. This small town was founded originally in 19th century by John Martin, a merchant, politician and a speculator from New Zealand, and the first streets were set out in the pattern of the Union Flag. Many of the town's streets were named after foreign places visited by Martin and one can visit Venice, Texas, Strasbourg and New York in one short walk. It is a rural town and due to the warm micro-climate, it is surrounded by vineyards famous for the production of finest pinot noir wines. 

It was too late for any winery tour so instead we went for dinner to one of the few places still opened called Pinocchio. The food was excellent and the wine list had a fair choice of local pinot noir, which was a good taster before next day's wine yards visit.  The way back proved challenging as the wind was getting stronger and stronger reaching as we checked almost 7 on Beaufort scale (50-60 km/h). 

It was going to be a shaky night in our little camper but at least we didn't have a tent roof over our heads. Looking around we felt sorry for little tents around the camping grounds being battered by the gusts of wind. Our camper might have been swaying in the wind but at least it had proper solid walls. Call it a silver lining...