New Zealand (South Island) – Nelson

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It’s Friday and today will be a long drive northwards starting from Maruia Springs (A). My final destination was Blenheim, Marlborough (G), the place famous for wine, and taking the coastal State Highway 1 would be a smoother drive up but wanted to stop by Nelson and Havelock, so we took the mountainous State Highway 65 and 6 instead. We had to set off very early, shortly after dawn (sunrises late in winter) and the visibility was quite poor. Being very much inland, it was very misty and the road had several turns. Connectivity was poor too, but since it was highway all the way, getting there wasn’t a problem.

The plan was honey shopping at Nelson Honey (B), real fruit ice cream at Berrylands (C), peanut butter factory tour at Pics (D), lunch and wine at Mahana Estate (E) and green lip mussels at Havelock (F).

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New Zealand is famous for honey and I found this brand which has their factory and shop along the highway. I’m glad it’s open early in the morning!

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They have all sorts of honey and honey skincare products from their own brand, some of which gained some media exposure since word has it that Kate Middleton used them.

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I bought these. On hindsight I should have gotten more! They operate an online store but shipping to Singapore costs as much as the honey. I suggest buying honey from such shops and never from the airport. Those sold at duty free shops in the airport costs about double. Shopping in store will get you the best deals because they do have special gifts with purchases if you spend a certain amount and they do sell second products if you want something which cost less.

Nelson Honey 
RD 2 Motupiko, 276 State Highway 6, Nelson 7072, New Zealand

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Ahh an ice cream truck.Who doesn’t love the sight of this? Anytime is a good time for ice cream, even if it’s in the morning or winter.

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Berrylands is a fruit farm but for winter there’s no fruit to pick. They do open on certain days for shorter hours serving their famous fresh fruit ice cream though!

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Basically they mix frozen berries with vanilla ice cream and churn out something like soft serve.

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I went for mixed berries, small size on a waffle cone.

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108 Appleby Hwy, Appleby, Richmond 7001, New Zealand

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Probably the activity I was looking forward to the most – a tour of Pic’s Peanut Butter Factory! Factory tours are free but must be booked online. They usually have it only from Monday – Friday at 10am but during school holidays, they have additional tours everyday. I was in luck! I wouldn’t be able to make it here in time if it was 10am. I managed to get a 12pm slot instead since it just so happened to be the school holiday week in New Zealand. Each your is limited to 15pax and expect to see a lot of kids.

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Various products by Pic’s. For those who are unfamiliar, Pic’s is a leading brand of ‘pure’ peanut butter – peanut butter which does not add sugar, emulsifiers, palm oil and other additives. The peanut butter here is just ground roasted peanuts and salt for the salted version. They have it in smooth and crunchy textures, sold in various sizes. They also have almond and cashew butter. The cashew butter was delicious beyond words.

This brand is available at supermarkets all over New Zealand and has also made it’s way to other countries. We can get this in Singapore as well, at selected Cold Storage and Jason’s.

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A roasted peanut. Their peanuts are sourced from Queensland Australia where sunshine is abundant.

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In the background is a big roaster where they roast the peanuts and then it’s being grounded and salt is added.

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And there we have it! So simple.

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Freshly packed peanut butter.

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As this is catered for mainly kids, they had a fun hands on moment where we get to grind some peanuts making peanut butter! The difference however, is that we’re using cooled peanuts. Those in the factory are grounded when hot.

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Kids love it.

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I bought myself a 1kg tub.

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The 500g crunchy and salted one is their best-seller.

Pic’s Peanut Butter
18 Elms St, Wakatu Estate, Main Road Stoke, Nelson, New Zealand

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For lunch, I picked this winery which Prince Charles of Wales visited last year during the royal New Zealand visit. Nelson happened to be one of the places in their itinerary. The estate was very beautiful.

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They have 2 methods for their wine here – one is using the French method (think oak barrel ageing) under the “Mahana Clays & Gravels” label and the other one labelled “Mahana” made typical new world style, contained in steel barrels.

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I tried the 2013 Mahana Pinot Noir. I think I would prefer French method for reds. This one was very different from Pinot Noir I tried in Burgundy.

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Lamb loin poached in Mahana Pinot Noir – $30

The flavours for this is very middle eastern with harissa, mint jelly, feta and Israeli cous cous. The strong flavours went well with the glass of Pinot Noir.

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Venison bourguingon -$30

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Despite being winter, the weather was nice enough to have a meal outside.

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Mahana Estate
243 Old Coach Rd, Upper Moutere 7152, New Zealand

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This postcard worthy scenery is Havelock, a lovely place between Nelson and Blenheim. It makes the perfect place to stopover along the way. I love how the water reflected those clouds and the blue sky! Havelock is a coastal village in Marlborough region famous for green-lipped mussels. Having a marina, this is a gateway for many boat trips like cruises, fishing trips, boat charters etc.

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I was very disappointed that the green-lipped mussel cruises did not operate during the winter months! I would love to have some of these famous mussels on board! The next best thing to do was to have it in a restaurant. The most popular restaurant was closed for winter too, but thankfully Slip Inn remained opened throughout!

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They serve their lunch menu until 5pm daily! Ordered a kilo of mussels.

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The warmth from the fireplace was comforting.

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The Mussel Kilo – $19.50

I had mine with white wine, garlic butter and herbs. It was simple yet perfect. Loved it.

Slip Inn
Havelock Marina, Havelock 7100, New Zealand

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I loved this view too.

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This is how people take their boats home!


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