Category Archives: New Zealand

Wines of the Great OZ & Cool Kiwi

One-third into our journey and farewells to Oz & Kiwi – but wait! We can’t leave without a tribute to wine. Last summer, I gathered a short list of recommended wines from a sommelier at Jean Georges in NYC which was a nice start to a great experience. Here are the results with links to explore further:

  • Marlborough, New Zealand
    • Nautilus EstateHighly recommended
      • Champagnes (esp. rose) are impressive
      • Solid portfolio across the board as I’d be happy with any of their wines
    • Hans Herzog Estate – Highly recommended
      • Montepulciano is my kind of wine – a big Italian varietal
      • Hans has 20+ grape varieties on his estate and experiments quite successfully.
    • Spy Valley Wines – Easy Peasy!
      • All drinkable but nothing spectacular
    • Brancott Estate Great views, not wine
  • Central Otago, New Zealand
    • Felton RoadExcellent
      • Best Pinot in New Zealand
      • Low key but real good wines
    • Quartz ReefNice champagne
    • RipponHighly Recommended
      • All around quality winery in beautiful setting
    • Maud & Akitu – Recommended
      • Consumed these with our Wanaka host friends Steve & Shannon Turner
    • Craggy Range Nice wine
  • Barossa Valley, South Australia
    • A fantastic day thanks to our Air BnB Host, Mel, who took us on a special tour of wineries VIP style
    • Two Hands – Nice winery recommended
    • Hentley FarmWorld class restaurant
      • Nice wines too but the chef rocks
    • SeppelsfieldPartner with Fino for lunch
      • Historically significant
    • Murray Street VineyardsHighly Recommended
      • Big reds that I like! Shirazzzzz!
    • RockfordHighly Recommended
      • Awesome red pinot champagne
      • Buys grapes from small batch vineyards
    • Artisans group – Cool grouping of 7 wineries
    • LangmeilStrong recommendation
      • Missed the winery but shared a bottle of this delicious stuff!  Also missed Pewsey Vale
  • Clare Valley, South Australia
    • Following 3 fantastic days in Flinders Ranges, we spent 2 in Clare Valley. A mellow and fruitful time!
    • Jim Barry – Everyday nice
      • Just like 2 Hands, a solid start and everyone is related to the Barry Family in Clare!
    • Knappstein – Wine & Beer Winner!
      • Ok, we prefer the beer
    • KilikanoonHighly recommended
    • Sevenhills – Good wines
      • Beautiful grounds on church land
    • O’Leary-Walker Wines – Recommended
      • Wonderful views of Clare Valley too
    • Claymore – Rocker wines
    • Hop & Vine for beer and wine
      • Clare Valley Brewing Co: Monkey’s Uncle Red Ale! Cool and tasty
      • Good Catholic Girl wine – ok, next
  • Additional tastings and thoughts:
    • Planned to visit the Margaret River in Western Australia but school exams stopped that trip cold
    • Cleanskins – bottles sell for $5-12 and are same as cover label in USA. Box wine – perfect for campers and cheap! 

Conclusion: Both countries have great tastings and are worth a visit. While the wines may not match up to Napa’s finest, you do get a great diverse tasting ranging from Shiraz to Grenache to Malbec and Mataro. A second benefit is the old school open cellar doors that Napa used to have (but now you have to pay a fee to get a glass). Oh and the mountains that surround these wineries are a great escape as well. Cheers from Down Under and we are on the wagon in Indonesia!

Top 10 New Zealand

The final results are ready for our Top 10 New Zealand. We spent 33 days in a campervan driving North Island to South Island.  Our perspective is based on our experiences and includes a short “ugh” list.

Sebastian & Louisa

  1. Shotover jet boat & AJ Hackett Bungy
  2. Puzzling World
  3. Kiwi night walk
  4. Trampolines (they’re everywhere)
  5. Turner Family in Wanaka: dogs Rosie & Chloe, Will & FIFA 15, and the One Direction bedroom!
  6. Wai-O-Tapu
  7. Family games: Monopoly, Pitch, Yahtzee, and Buraco
  8. Cape Reinga & hikes (ok, just some of the hikes)
  9. Mineral spa pools
  10. Libraries (yes, to study school)

Chris & Leticia

  1. Freedom camping
  2. Okay2Stay
  3. Marlborough wine tasting
  4. Shotover jet boat
  5. i-Sites
  6. Hiking trails
  7. Libraries
  8. Real food (organic)
  9. Te Papa Museum
  10. One-lane bridges
  11. Kauri tree
  12. Top 10 Campgrounds


We did this shot over jet boat ride in New Zealand and it felt like we could almost feel the rocks thumping below us it was so shallow. Our Driver did a bunch of 360’s and we got SOAKED!! It was our first real fun adventure to start our trip. Then came bungy jumping and so on.