Last weekend I headed away with a fellow Kiwi and Aussie gal pal for a road trip to Nelson.
The NZ expat has been in the land of Roos for about 15years and although growing up in NZ she hadn’t really travelled or can’t remember a lot of places, so we fixed that!
Here are some great places to see and eat along the way.
At the end of the main road in Hanmer is Conical hill with spectacular views of the surrounding mountains, whilst we didn’t do the walk as we had been dragged up and down that by our parents in our younger days. We were instead keen on jumping in the hot pools and sinking a few good glasses of red at the restaurant No31 instead. We stayed at the Greenacres chalets which has an equally as gorgeous view of the mountains and cosy cabins nestled in the foothills of the great pines of the hill.
Travel up to Nelson through the Lewis pass and you can stop at Maruia springs for a soak in the hot pools, we didn’t since we had already had a Hanmer experience but we did pull over under the beautiful tall trees that seem to go endlessly into the skies and take in the peacefulness of the river and the fresh clean air.
Stop at Murchison for a good coffee at one of the cafes and if you love op shops Somebody’s Treasure has something for EVERYONE. Seriously. I never leave without a book, mag, something for the china collection. This time I got a paid stamp for my invoices (It must have been fate as I just broke my last one) It cost $1. Another time I picked up the most beautiful old atlas for $8.
DO NOT drive past this.
Truly, it is the most spectacular 360’ view. (if you feel like living dangerously stand on the sundial and take a panorama – make sure someone is watching you, I won’t be held accountable for any accidents) There is also a picnic spot and a toilet.
Before you get to Nelson, pre book to have dinner at The Boat shed café, ask for an outside table which overlooks the harbour in Tahuna. It has divine meals that you can pick and choose your mains and sides. If your a seafood fan get the salmon, it’s amazeballs.
If I’m travelling about, I always book into the local market with my jewellery and the Nelson Saturday Market is never one to miss. Filled with food to eat, fresh local produce to take away, handcrafts, massages and music. Grab some food after a look around and go have a picnic by the seaside.
HEADING HOME DOWN THE COAST
After a catch up with family and a sleepover with old school friends who filled us up with fresh whitebait patties and fish washed down with laugher and wine, we woke up early to take the coastal road home to give our Aussie friend a different scenic veiw.
Here are our stops.
Head out of nelson and about an hour into your journey turn the corner to Pelorus bridge, PULL OVER and walk down to the mouth of the river (about 30mins)
If your equipped grab your togs, it’s so fresh and clean.
If you’re short on time, take in the peaceful views sitting on the rocks or looking down from the bridge. This is also the famous “barrel scene” from the movie – The Hobbit, return of smaug.
There is a cafe set back off the road, with a small camping ground so if you’re on a journey with a campervan or tents in the back of the car you can stay the night. Aussie girl and I have grand plans to go back in summer when she’s over.
My favourite little seaside village is Havelock and I ADORE the Apples for Charlotte tearooms. White, shabby chic, it looks like my living room at home! Just the spot for a pot of tea and a mouth-watering brownie. I want to put the miniature café house that sits on the counter in my handbag. All little (and big) girls will love looking into it. If your starving, pop into the pub and sit outside looking over the harbour in the sunshine. If you’re a seafood connoisseur, the Mussel pot is the place for you to eat.
Further into the journey just past the small town of Seddon, look for the Saltlakes sign. Turn left to the biggest pile of salt you have ever seen. It’s an impressive site. Strangely it doesn’t smell like salt and there is a large amount of fennel and silverbeet growing around the fencing.
On our journey home, it started to POUR DOWN. I was really sad that we wouldn’t be able to take Aussie gal on the walk to the seal colony when we got to Kaikoura but heading down the coastline she yells “Seals!” Low and behold there were hundreds of them rain baking on the rocks. So cute! If you bark in low deep voice they will talk back to you. Go on do it, if someone looks at you weird blame me. Soon you will have everyone barking.
Kaikoura is a gorgeous little seaside village. Make sure you stop and have a look around and if the suns shining definitely go on the seal colony walk.
That’s the end of our adventure to Nelson and back. We had the best time, NZ truly is a beautiful country and I’m glad that we took Aussie gal on a roadie to remind her of other home. We dropped her back to her parents smiling and yawning.