We had an easy day yesterday after getting the ferry over to the South Island. We picked up our car in Picton for the half-hour trip to Blenheim, where we’re staying in an AirBnB for four nights. Not that we used the car much. We left it at our accommodation and walked into Blenheim instead. Mind you, I could get used to having this view each morning – we have vineyards across the road from us!
We’re currently having lunch in Nelson, having driven here via Havelock. It’s quite a spectacular road as it climbs and hairpins its way through the hills to reach the coast. Nelson’s a lot bigger than I imagined. The place has a relaxed feel to it, with the small square below the church a lovely oasis of brew pubs and cafes.
As the old saying goes, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em! We stayed for lunch and a drink in the square and watched the world go by whilst enjoying a huge portion of calamari! The bar we sat outside was an old building that was converted to a pub – and a very good job they’d done of it too…
I’ve been surprised at how many preserved railways there are in New Zealand, although most of them are small-scale efforts like this one in Nelson. It’s part of a local museum and has a short running line on the site of the original railway which closed in 1952. It only runs at weekends, but here’s the line and station at Nelson.
Nelson’s a lovely little place with a great atmosphere. It’s used as a base by many tourists who go on to explore some of the national parks in the area. We popped down to one – the Nelson Lakes national park and beautiful Lake Rotoiti.
We drove back along highway 63, following a river valley whose name is associated with the wine industry: Wairau. Wairau Cove is on of our favourite New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc’s back in the UK, so it’s quite a kick to be here!
Tomorrow we’ll be doing a vineyard tour, so export more wine-related blogging…
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