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New Zealand 2013/​14 — Villa Maria Estate, Manukau

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It’s been a month since I came back to Real Life after hol­i­day­ing in New Zealand, would you believe it? It’s only February, but the year’s already flown by. And so to end my recount of my time in New Zealand, two days after we arrived in Auckland, here are some pho­tos from Villa Maria Vineyard 

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Villa Maria Estate is a New Zealand wine com­pany with vine­yards across New Zealand, with one of their major pro­duc­tion sites quite close to Auckland air­port. So just two days after arriv­ing in Auckland, we drove the 40 minute drive back. I’ve been to count­less farms, but nev­er a vine­yard — not being much of a wine drink­er means the Hunter Valley in New South Wales has nev­er been too com­pel­ling as a roadtrip des­tin­a­tion.

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But I do cer­tainly appre­ci­ate the pic­tur­esque qual­ity of grape vines.

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The grapes look plump and juicy.

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And the foliage is beau­ti­fully verd­ant, as is the rest of the the New Zealand.

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So what was a non-wine-drink­er doing at a vine­yard? We were there to have lunch with D’s uncle at the res­taur­ant. 20131227-dsc_0487

Outside the res­taur­ant are some wine bar­rels.

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I very much enjoyed my BBQ Pork Belly. Who can res­ist roast pork belly?

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The crack­ling skin was cooked sep­ar­ately so it was delight­fully crsipy, while the meat itself was almost melt-in-your mouth tender. It was served on a bed of kumara (or sweet potato) pur­ee and chilli car­a­mel sauce. Yum!

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Villa Maria Estate is at 118 Montgomerie Rd, Manukau 2153, New Zealand.