Goodbye Invercargill, Southland, NZ…….for now!!

10.05am, Friday 29th July, Invercargill Airport, Southland, South Island, New Zealand

Well folks, another trek across Aotearoa….’Land of the long white cloud’……comes to an end……quite fittingly here in Invercargill,  right down at the tip end of the South Island. Our Air New Zealand baby prop jet ride up to Wellington will be here soon, and we’ll be ploughing through some rough stuff on our way today – the complete opposite of the clear breezy run down the Southern Alps that we had three days ago.Landing in Wellington today will be like being one of those whizzy stomach dropping carnival rides……my plan is to just close my eyes when the flight attendants take their seats and hope the anchors work when they throw them out!

But we’ve had a busy couple of days down here between Queenown, Invercargill and Riverton – so here’s a quick catch up…..

Beautiful run down the Southern Alps thanks to the weather gods and Air New Zealand…..

Even if you do seem to ‘thread the needle’ between two pretty sturdy peaks to run up the lake – Wakatipu – to the Queenstown airstrip.

Tremendous turn out for our local trade event, held at No 5 Church Lane, which is the cosy private dining room at The Spire Hotel, Queenstown – thanks a million Tom.

Stayed overnight at the top ‘old motel converted into a cool lodge but there’s no TV in the rooms so it’s not for everyone’ Sherwood – I like it and could move in for a week with mornings like this one from the breakfast table window!

Hang on….I’m about to run out of my free 30 minutes of airport wi fi, so I’ll have to pick this up in Wellington whilst I wait for our Qantas ride across the Tasman. See ya when it’s the North Island.

***Same day folks…..6.53pm, Sydney Airport, Gate 6

So Queenstown went really well, excellent turnout……and after a fab Japanese meal with my delightful Southland handler from Negociants NZ – AJ you know who you are ! – I broke out the blankets, curled up in my lodge room, and hit the hay….no TV but no trouble going out like a light!

Then an early morning start, brekky in the lodge dining hall / bar arrangement, caught the sunrise and we hit the road southwards for Invercargill and our lunch time trade event.

Farewell Lake Wakatipu, the snowcaps rising out of it, Queenstown, and the pied piper of good times in the area Danny Carson – you also know who you are!

One quick coffee and cheese rolls / trade call stop at the Highway Cafe in Athol en route……

And it was on to Invercargill and our local trade event with our staunch mate Mana Davis at his tremendous bistro bar “Louie’s”

How lucky can a gal be – working with this particular bunch of talented food and wine blokes!

As a starter with the exotic aromatic treble of 2015 Y Viognier, 2014 Roussanne & 2014 Virgilius…..Mana made up a ‘fluffy mousse more than paste’ of salted mutton bird from the local Titi Islands – near Stewart Island, next stop the South Pole – and the closest thing I could compare it to is that anchovette paste that we used to have on our sandwiches as kids. I asked Mana why the Mutton Bird mousse tasted like fish paste, and apparently the birds eat krill, hence the fishy taste of the flesh. Mana cooked the Mutton bird meat up in its own fat with local Southland swede, watercress, and some secret herbs & spices….topped with pickled ginger. Excellent example of truly regional Southland cuisine!

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