Friday, November 30, 2012


29th November
 Nelson and its beach

This is a long drive although the road is mostly good. 
It's the roadwork season, which causes a few delays.  There are views of high mountains, capped with snow. 
When we arrive we discover a real town full of useful shops.  

There's its Christ church cathedral on a hill at the end of the main street access by many steps, a favourite place for locals to grab lunch, and a saxophonist to play his haunting tunes. 
There's place to buy camera cards and a coffee in a "Traditional European Cafe -established 2011".   The café is run by a genuine European German with an accent to match. 

We wander into a commercial "art gallery" - not much of interest, though there were some prints of local events.  
Then there's the Refinery Artspace, which was set up partly to provide employment opportunities for the "disadvantaged in the job market".  A nice space, with an outdoor sculpture garden but not brilliantly used. An exhibition inside, on the theme of death, was none too cheery, of course !
We forget to bring our guide book, and we miss the "real" gallery.

Before we leave Nelson, we drive to the west,  a little further as far as the beach, wide open, flat, no swimmers in sight, just a couple of families playing beach games, running around on the sand. 

Then it's back to the road towards Havelock, with a stop at the Pelorus Bridge campsite and cafe, for an ice cream, then Harry and a couple of others dipped in the river, while I paddled and was attacked by sand flies !

28 Nov  Lazy morning gives way to Picton, cafe, shops, a walk, and blue cod and chips in Havelock, and a drive back under the full moon, whose markings are inverted.  The moon's reflection in the still waters of the sound is clear and dramatic. 

The cafe in Picton is near the waterfront area, light breezy. We parked the car outside a Scottish Bar, though it doesn't look much like one.  Finally I twig the parking system in NZ   P60 must mean you can park for 60 minutes. After a coffee and a cheese and veg muffin we move the car and call in for a few extra supplies from the supermarket.  Then we return home, since it's too hot to carry food in the car all day.  Aloe Vera is another purchase, along with postcards and stamps.

In the evening we drive out to the start of the Queen Charlotte Walkway at Anakiwa. You are allowed to walk along for an hour or so without a permit, so that's what we do.  Good clear track, wooded, and flat as far as Davies Bay, where we see birds - a wader, elegant long-legged, high stepping at the water's edge. It stays around for ages, quite unconcerned, by our presence and attempts to take photos. There's a brilliant coloured bird, yellow below, with flashing blue-green back and wings . We think it's some kind of kingfisher. The usual tuis are around, and a few mallard and loads of gulls. We've seem some primeval looking birds in trees, possibly a sort of duck, though they looked like penguins.  By the time we return to our starting point, time's getting on. We think of calling at the pub-restaurant in Linkwater, but it closes at eight, and we arrive at eight ten. So - off to Havelock, and blue cod and chips at the Slip Inn. We also claim our free cup of coffee from a voucher given out on the Pelorus Mail Boat. 
The blue cod flesh looks quite white, and tastes - like cod.  It's actually a very good meal, with chips and salad. Recommended. 
The young woman who serves us is by helpful and friendly, and tells us she is in the local fire brigade. A necessary outfit since official medical aid may be half an hour or more away in Blenheim.  

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