As we left Nelson, on our way down the East Coast of the South Island, we stumbled upon a small town, Havelock, famous for its beautiful green shell New Zealand mussels. We stopped by The Mussel Pot restaurant to take in some of the local fare. (I love the little green mussels all over the roof)

The Mussel Pot Restaurant 

With a variety of flavours to choose from, we decided on the steamed Thai Green Curry with Coconut Milk mussels with a side of bread to soak up the remaining juices (great recommendation from our waiter). The New Zealand mussels were HUGE and a delicious flavor, reminding me of the surprise birthday dinner Jordan cooked up for me a few years ago (foreshadowing maybe?).

Enjoying the beautiful mussels (East Coast style) Mussel inside Jordan’s hand 

As we made our way down the coast, we rolled into the famous Marlborough Wine Region with vineyards that went on for miles. A sign that said “Free Wine Tasting” caught our eye and peaked our interest in an afternoon wine tasting. The Framingham Wines boutique winery boasts their expressive, small batch wines are crafted with ‘new world purity and old world complexity’.

In the heart of Marlborough Wine country 

We tried 6 different types of wine, from a smooth Sauvignon Blanc to a full bodied spicy Montepulciano (an Italian variety). The lovely New Zealand lady explained the texture of each selection as she poured us the sample. A number of their wines had won prestigious awards, with a few even being selected to be served in Air New Zealand’s business class.

Wine tastings at Flamingham Wines 

The old wine cellar downstairs had racks of bottles dating back to the early 90’s. I loved the Saviough Blanc so much I wanted to break into the cellar to get more! Instead we bought a bottle on our way out to enjoy later that night.

Trying to break into the wine cellar 

Nearing sunset we decided to find a DOC campsite for the evening, and stumbled upon the Okiwi Bay campsite near the beach with a beautiful mountain backdrop behind us. This was the first DOC campsite that we found that was FREE to camp! At first I couldn’t figure out why with the beautiful scenery and hiking trails behind us, but when a train came barreling by just 20m away, I understood why they probably couldn’t charge for this. Oh well we were just happy for our first FREE campsite!

Jordan tossed us another beautiful salad, while I cut up some salami, cheese and crackers and we toasted our Framingham Sauvignon Blanc as we enjoyed our beach side picnic.

Enjoying a beautiful salad with our wine 

As we setup the Ractis for the night (yes we’ve decided we enjoy sleeping in the comfort of the car over a tent), we finished off the bottle of wine, maybe a bit too quickly!

Enjoying a bit too much wine 

PS GIFs are back by popular demand!