The coastal drive between Marlborough and Christchurch takes about four hours and is quite lovely. Based on advice from our Highlight Wine Tour operator, we made two pit stops. First, we stopped at the Ohau Stream Walk, which is about an hour and a half away from Marlborough, to see the seal pups. Second, we had lunch at Pegasus Bay winery, which is about 50 minutes away from Christchurch.
The Adorable Seal Pups at Ohau Stream Walk
Mr. Selfish and I were lucky enough to visit Ohau Stream Walk during the height of the season for seal pups. During the winter, momma seals leave their pups at Ohau stream and waterfall while they are out at sea hunting for food. The pups frolic and play in the stream with the other pups while waiting for their moms to come back.
The dozens of pups are utterly adorable, and they are quite curious about people. They will come right up close to you and try to smell you. According to the volunteer gentlemen, they carry syphilis and sometimes bite so we didn’t get too close. Other tourists were not so wary.
If you are driving between Marlborough and Christchurch, I would definitely stop by Ohau Stream Walk. It is free and the seals are awesomely adorable!
A Delicious Lunch at Pegasus Bay
About 50 minutes outside of Christchurch, we stopped at Pegasus Bay winery for lunch. Although it was not set on the bay, the grounds are beautiful.
We have mixed feelings about Pegasus Bay. While the restaurant staff provided excellent service and the food was delicious, the cellar door servers were the rudest we’ve ever met (and we’ve been to plenty of wineries at this point). It is most likely because we look young and there were lots of older patrons around, but the cellar door staff did not want to wait on us and snidely answered our questions about the wine. To boot, the wines were the worst we had tried in New Zealand (this may be a biased opinion since we had horrible service).
On the other hand, the restaurant staff provided probably the best service we had in Oceania. They were courteous and provided good information about the food. Moreover, the food was divine.
Mr. Selfish ordered the marinated Canterbury lamb cutlets that came with cavolo nero, chorizo, borlotti beans, ricotta, lemon and olive dust. I had the chargrilled Angus/30 day aged rib eye with roasted shallots, watercress, red wine butter, and jus. Yes, it was a lot of red meat, but every now and then, you want that red meat. Mmmmmm, delicious!
I would still recommend Pegasus Bay for lunch but, unless you look older than 40, be prepared for rude service from the cellar door.