Published: August 21st 2012August 20th 2012
We set off for the South Island and the port of Picton in the afternoon on the 8th
. The photo from the ferry map shows our interesting route. We sailed west and north out of Wellington and into the Marlborough sounds. It was like sailing up a fjord in Norway. Peaks towered out of sight as fog shrouded much of the land. Luckily it was calm and we watched Olympics synchronized swimming with a group of school boys (they weren’t impressed) in the lounge of the Interislander ferry onto which we drove our car.
Again we arrived in the dark and I consulted my Mapquest directions to Philip's house in Nelson estimated to take 1.5 hours. So we ignored the sign that said Nelson to the left and went the Mapquest way. The road turned out to be a fairly tight slalom course around the coast, in the dark, in the rain and through the forest. After an hour of clenched teeth and great lot of down shifting on John’s part we hadn’t even reached Havelock where we could have a coffee. I have been told that we missed absolutely drop dead gorgeous views so we will have to return the same way on our way home but in daylight.
I don’t think Mapquest takes into consideration the actual shape of the road. At one point after zig-zagging for awhile we saw a sign the showed “turns for the next 7 km”. One of the rules of driving in NZ, in addition to sticking to the left side of the road, is: never assume that the road is as straight as it looks on the map. If you look at almost any scale map of New Zealand the roads looks fairly direct. After 2 ½ hours of twists and turns we arrived on Nile Street in Nelson to find 8 year old Lola as lookout . Waiting for our arrival with Lola were Melissa, Philip and 10 year old Luca and Molly the super dog. It was a wonderful relief to be there. After the excitement of arrival at about 9 pm and a cup of tea we headed off to our house.
Philip led us up the hill; another crazy hill climbing slalom. But as it turned out we are just 5 minutes up the road perched high overlooking the lights of Nelson and a view of the Tasman Bay. You can see where we are staying: www.avocadoadventures.co.nz
. Look at Avocado Apartment.
In the morning we could see the gorgeous view of sea and sky and that the hill sides are covered with trees, winter skeletons when we arrived and now day by day blossoming out and setting leaves. Bird song fills the daylight hours in the surrounding trees.
And so began our sojourn in Nelson. The kids got to stay home from school on the day after we arrived so we wandered around with them and had our first lunch in one of Nelson’s many very good street -side cafés: Lambretta’s (named for the many real Lambrettas in the café).
The next day Philip took us on a great hike which starts virtually outside their street. The picture you see of us on a hill top is the actual center of New Zealand with a big statue that you can see from far off. The hike brought us onto one of hills ringing Nelson, the views being particularly good before the trees fill out. Typically hiking trails cross livestock pastures and one of the photos shows John passing through a gate that allows people and dogs but not sheep. The kids are both great walkers and are full of information about the area. Great fun, great views and at the end a short walk to our house.
And so began a pattern of our days: hiking (sun or rain), seeing the kids after school and on weekends and exchanging dinners and the kids first sleepover. We have been watching a lot of soccer too. Luca is on three teams and Philip’s team is in playoffs so we get to have football (soccer) weekends again.
I will stop here and see if we can upload pictures and this blog. We have continued to have connectivity problems. I hope you have been able to get on to the blog and are enjoying it and or the photos.