He certainly did! And it's in Abel Tasman National Park in the South Island of New Zealand!
But first we had to get there!
In the morning we checked out of The Villa in Picton and headed down to the Ferry Port, where the Stray bus had just got off the ferry from the North Island. We met our driver and jumped on the bus. Leaving Picton behind, the driver 'Rob / Pops' told us that we'd be drinking wine within 15 minutes. It was almost too much to bear! Malborough (the district that we were in) is wine country - so of course it was critical that we tried out the product! So we headed down to one of the most successful vineyards "Hunters". Hunters has won stacks of awards, and they had photos of Nelson Mandela drinking their wine etc.
It was a very sunny day, so the camera came out and we got some great shots. Inside the tasting room, we tried a variety of the wines on offer, from their whites through to rose and reds. Within an hour we were all feeling a bit 'warm' but that's just the way it goes! Gareth was more into the reds and Helen the whites. The wine was of premium quality and the location stunning - check the photos out. Not only were there grapes on the property but we also found orange and lemon trees aswell.
After the Vineyard (sometimes called a winery in the Southern Hemisphere *but not in this case) we headed through the mountains in the north of the South Island, driving to Abel Tasman National Park, through the city of Nelson (named after Lord Nelson of course) along the way. Nelson doesn't have that much going for it, apart from the fact that it started the wearable art show some years ago (awards show that now takes place in Wellington).
The great weather continued as we approached Abel Tasman. The driver told us about how Abel Tasman is seen as the California of New Zealand. Properties are being snapped up by foriegners and prices are shooting up. Sounds a bit like Cornwall, but for the lack of Pasties! We stopped off at a skydive centre so some of the STRAY bus could fulfill their dream, but Helen and I left it this time! It was $300 without film / video which is very expensive. We paid a little more than that and got all the trimmings...
Whilst that went on we headed over to the nearest supermarket to buy food. All 16 of us on the bus decided to club together and make a huge spaghetti Bol. So we shopped for that and Helen and I also bought another big unit of water.
After picking up the skydivers we headed over to our digs for the night 'Old MacDonalds Farm'. This place was like a camp site, but it also had log cabins where we all stayed - a bargain at $20 each (about 7 or 8 quid). The whole place was also a huge farm, with cows, pigs, Llamas (!!) and also the usual chickens, ducks and peacocks.
We all got cooking and next thing Gareth knew he was the one making the Bolognese! Luckily he had had lots of practice in the caravan so it turnd out great. HEY MUM!! DIDN'T I DO WELL!!?
By the time we'd eaten it was 10pm so we were all shattered - time for some kip.