Nelson2/20 – 2/21/2017
Nelson is the main hub in the north part of the South Island of New Zealand. The plan was to find a room in Nelson for a night or 2 and figure out our next move. After all, Nelson is surrounded by 3 national parks and the ocean and, again, you have to ask yourself what shouldn’t I do? On the way, we made one more attempt to take in as much of the Marlborough Sounds as we could and stopped outside of Havelock for about 2 hours worth of walking and looking. This was more of a port and it was low tide so 2/3rds of our view was mud but it was still pretty impressive and for the second day in a row the weather mostly held.
Nelson, like most other places on our route, is pretty packed with tourists but we were able to find a reasonable room just across from the beach at… the Beach Hostel. Ever since Thailand, we’d been seeing New Zealand green mussels on menus or in brochures and this was one of their points of origin so we were on the lookout for a nice lunch spot to get some famous green mussels. Instead, we got sucked into a charming little downtown area where there were a couple rotating pianists playing on a random street piano. Even the waitresses were surprised with the quality of these passerby pianists (obviously this is wide open for dick jokes but I’ll leave that to your imagination). So, rather than finding mussels, the restaurant with sidewalk seating next to the piano served up a great fish that I can’t remember the name of with potatoes, tomatoes and an egg, while McKayla enjoyed a steak sandwich. I honestly think Nelson is my favorite town in New Zealand so far. It’s not just because it shares a name with one of my closest friends but it has a really nice laid back feel with nearly every possible outdoor activity within a 30 minute drive; oh, and there are wineries all over the place – how could these people not be chill?
Our room was the size of a closet but it had a bed and wifi (which has been ridiculously difficult to find in New Zealand, especially quality wifi. A shock coming from Southeast Asia where it was free, abundant and available everywhere). After some research and a long walk on the beach we decided our next move would be a multi day backpackinghut hopping loop in Nelson Lakes National Park. We elected to completely skip Abel Tasmin N.P., a tough choice, but as far as the things we want to see, its the right call. The Abel Tasmin great walk is one of the most popular, but seems to stick mostly to the coast, and while I enjoy long walks on the beach, I’m not sure this crowded 4 day coast walk was right for us.