The estate was smack dab in the middle of all the local wineries, which meant, of course, that we spent our days wine tasting, then stopping for lunch at some winery for a sumptuous feast of locally produced organic stuff like cheeses, venison salami and lamb skewers. Naturally, life without tennis is simply no life for the Diplomat, so even before we had reached New Zealand he had already found the local tennis clubs. What's more, we even found the local social hour and so we found ourselves playing tennis on the afternoons. Son found similarly bored children to play with at the tennis courts and to occasionally rush onto the court right when I was about to yield my finishing blow to the opponent (a 75-year old woman with disturbing agility) to tell me he would like to bring some stones home. We also made a trip to the green lip mussels capital of the world - Havelock (yup, we had mussels and they were spectacular) - and drove through the drop-dead gorgeous Queen Charlotte Drive to Picton, a 35 km scenic drive over the Marlborough Sounds.
On the way to Queenstown we stopped to gaze thoughtfully at the picturesque Lake Tekapo, surrounded by hordes of backpackers and motel signs aimed for backpackers. New Zealand is a backpacker country. Not sure why, nothing (especially NOT its prices) screams "backpacker" to me. And yet there they are, with ginormous backpacks on their backs, and added smaller versions hanging from their fronts, two shopping bags of stuff hanging from each hand. And then they hitchhike. I have to be honest, unless I am driving a cargo plane, I simply cannot see how I could give a lift to such loaded mules. But it must work or otherwise they won't be there, I suppose. I am sure there is some sort of dubious romanticism about traveling that way, but boy, watching them, I was so glad that I was a grown up, let me tell ya.