Kayaking, jet-boating and trout fishing are available a! Wet N Wild (00 64 6 306 8252; www.wetnwild.co.nz). McLeod’s Adventures (00 64 6 306 9032; www. mcleodsadventures. co.nz) offers fully escorted, off-road quad-biking in the high country outside Martinborough. Or climb into the saddle at Martinborough Bicycle Hire (00 64 6 306 8920). The area is quite flat so this is a good way to explore the vineyards without the risk of being breathalysed.
IN THE HUMID TUMULT Of Colombo, the Sri Lankan capital, Cinnamon Gardens is a pocket of calm, a favoured location for embassies and NGO headquarters. One of its newest and most discreet additions is Colombo House, a three-bedroom guesthouse owned and run by Bob and Nikki Harrison.
Although British, the couple have a long acquaintance with Sri Lanka. Bob used to manufacture underwear for Marks & Spencer at three factories around the country, while Nikki ran an interior-design consultancy and was a principal at the British School in Colombo. They bought Colombo House as a family home, but subsequently elected to open it up to visitors.
The former colonial villa is distinguished by a neoclassical portico, a long sweep of pristine veranda and an elegant garden pavilion. Bob thinks it was built as a tea-planter’s residence, but whatever its origins, the building currently owes more to the Harrisons than to history. They acquired a wreck, and the project has been at least as much reconstruction as refurbishment.
We had to put in new electrics, new plumbing, a new upper storey – virtually new everything,’ says Bob. The best of the original features were the teak drawingroom floor and staircase, now stripped, varnished and buffed to a numinous glow.