It has been nearly two weeks since we started our journey and true to form updating the blog has taken a back seat. Now that we are firmly over our jetlag and tummy troubles it is time to update the blog with our travels so far.
Following our stop in Dunedin we spent 10 days in Nelson catching up with my family and friends. Unlike Dunedin, Nelson is genuinely sunny and has at times held New Zealand’s title as sunniest city. Unfortunately spring weather in New Zealand has a habit of being unsettled and the poor weather followed us from Dunedin. While the rain was less pervasive, strong winds marked much of our time in Nelson.
Nelson is a small city/large town at the top of New Zealand’s South Island. It is the gateway to the Abel Tasman and Kahurangi National Parks. In summer the beaches around the region become enveloped by family picnics. It is home to a thriving arts and crafts community and a great food and drink scene. If you want to get a taste of the arts and sample some food then there is no better place than the Saturday Market. It is held each Saturday morning in one of the central carparks. As well as the arts, crafts and food many local producers sell fresh fruit and vegetables. Our first day in Nelson involved an obligatory trip to the aforementioned markets and the difficult decision of deciding between an authentic German bratwurst hotdog and a gourmet Turkish kebab for brunch. On this day the kebab won.
We had 10 days in Nelson to relax, spend time with my family and prepare. We spent our time catching up with some close friends who are expecting their first baby (eek exciting), doing some last minute purchases (Merino socks) and tiki touring around Nelson.
Tiki tour – (New Zealand slang)
1. a sight-seeing journey with no particular destination in mind.
2. taking the scenic route to a destination.
3. to wander aimlessly.
Lauren hasn’t spent much time in Nelson so we took a few trips to some areas that she hadn’t been before. We had a couple of nice trips with my Grandparents to Mapua and Cable Bay. Mapua is a small town to the North of Nelson and there are some good cafes and restaurants to taste some local seafood as well as a microbrewery. We also had a drive through the Upper Moutere Valley where there are many local artisans, fooderies and wineries. At the right time of the year fresh berries can be picked in the area which is a tasty albeit scratchy experience. Cable Bay is a rugged location to the east of Nelson whose claim to fame was as the end of the first telegraph cable between Australia and New Zealand. There is a lovely little cafe here but unfortunately severe storms earlier in the year left the access road in worse condition than I remembered from my last time there.
Nelson has a number of excellent local wineries and breweries. We enjoyed a wine tasting and lunch at Milcrest Estate near Richmond. It was a lovely sunny day and thankfully there was sunscreen on hand to stop everyone becoming beetroot. During the trip to the Moutere Valley we visited Neudorf Winery. As well as making good wine Neudorf have amazing grounds which they invite you to enjoy by bringing a picnic lunch. We will be surely be back there when next in Nelson and the sun is shining. We also enjoyed an evening at McCashins brewery with close friends and a few jugs of beer. In addition to their fine ales the kitchen also makes some great burgers and pizzas. Nelson is fast becoming known as one of New Zealand’s top craft brewing destinations and there a dozens of local brews to try.
Family, friends, food and drink were central to our pit stop in New Zealand. It was a short and sweet stop to recharge and literally fill up (I am sure I left heavier than when I got to New Zealand). Then after our last day in Nelson it was time to hop on a jet and say goodbye to New Zealand. Onwards there was to be no comfort blanket of family or knowledge of the city we are in, the currency or (very scarily) the language. It will just be the two of us, alone and adventuring in the big wide world.