The day for our trip to Nelson started off rather over cast. We were to travel along a road at the side of the lower Queen Charlotte Sound on our way to Nelson. This was an extremely windy road, and quite tortuous and slow despite the fantastic scenery. We stopped for morning coffee at Havelock (famous for the green lipped mussels), we found an old steam engine outside a museum before finding a cafe where we had some really creamy hot chocolate. As we were having our drink the cafe started filling up with bikers, with their Harley Davidsons parked outside. We also bought a teapot stand which was obviously crafted locally, the frame is made out of swamp kauri and has a hand painted tile in the centre of the kauri tree – an excellent bargain.
We arrived into Nelson late morning with the sun once again shinning strongly and had a couple of hours to explore and get some lunch. It’s quite a beautiful city set slightly in land, our hotel was near the back of the city next to the cathedral. The main street was mainly pedestrianised with lots of flower displays. We walked along the main street and bought a picnic lunch to eat in the park beside the river (except there wasn’t much water flowing in the river).
The hotel was one of the best we had stayed at and it had a large window that extended out wards so we got a view on 3 sides. In the afternoon we got on the coach again and we were taken to the WOW museum (World of Wearable Art) that also encompassed a number of classic cars. Pete was enthralled by the cars and didn’t even venture into the WOW part. The wearable art was quite breathtaking in that they were costumes that are more art than clothes and there is an annual competition with entries from all over the world. The last winner had made the dress from wood – it was quite beautiful but you obviously could never have sat down in it!
When we got back I had a short swim in the hotel pool. Short because it must have only been about 6 metres long and was unheated so very cold, especially as the sun had moved past the pool area by then.
We went out fairly early to try and find somewhere to eat but despite it being before 7 it was a Friday and a number of the restaurants were fully booked. We ended up in an Italian restaurant called Rome which served excellent food and service was great but proved to be extremely busy. All the time we were eating there was a steady stream of people coming in and a lot of them got turned away!
As we came out of the restaurant we bumped into 2 of our fellow travellers who had just returned from a walk to the ‘official centre of New Zealand’.
Back in our hotel room we watched a beautiful sunset from our room.