One of my favourite drives in the South Island is along the Motueka Valley Highway past Pangatotara and on to Motueka and Riwaka - not only for the stunning landscape and beautiful Tasman Bay beyond but also for the amazing hop gardens that predominate in the area.
March is harvest month for New Zealand hop growers who at the moment will be busy picking hop flowers, drying them in their distinctive shaped hop kilns, as seen in Rita Angus's watercolour below, and sending them off to craft brewers throughout New Zealand and abroad. Gertrude Hermes celebrates the occasion in her stunning wood-engraving Harvest where nature's beer making ingredients, including a flowering hop vine, are brought together.
We're fortunate to now have Christchurch's Three Boys Brewery on board as sponsors. Owner and Brewer Ralph Bungard has recently opened up a new brewing plant on Ferry Road in Woolston and we would recommend his IPA (Indian Pale Ale) if you wanted to experience the distinctive aroma of New Zealand hops in action for yourself.
Check out Three Boys Brewery here