Published: November 28th 2007November 24th 2007
Our guide, Robert, has planned a day to satisfy both the shopper and nature lover. But first, we linger over breakfast
, which our host, Wayne, has prepared. After cereal, fruit and granola, Wayne’s wife, Val, serves the hot dish, Mediterranean tomatoes - broiled tomatoes with Canadian bacon accented with herbs and cheese, all served over toast.
We walk into Nelson’s town center to sample the Saturday market where Robert seems to know everyone. Rows of tents house produce and flowers plus arts and crafts from local artisans. A shoemaker stands in one stall next to Korkers, the name of the shoes he produces. Across the row, a potter displays garden statues that are topped off with a solar light to put a nighttime glow in the garden.
Finished with browsing the market, we walk back to Robert’s car that is parked at Shelbourne Villa. First, Robert drives up Nelson’s version of Lombard Street for a view of the bay. Then, we take the inland route to Abel Tasman National Park
. On the way, we stop at Neudorf Dairy to see how they produce cheese from sheep. It’s Sunday so there is no production but Alan and
I sample the cheeses and buy a chunk for later.
Our route takes us near Robert’s farm so he stops to give us a tour. A cottage sits near the garden, an old Post Office that was moved to the property, perfect for Robert’s travel business. Joan, his American wife, guides us on a tour of the house, which is an old farmhouse. She cooks on a woodstove and the water supply comes from rainwater.
Our journey continues to Marahau. We lunch on smoked fish salad with avocado at the Park Café, then Robert drops us off at the offices of Abel Tasman Aqua Taxi. After boarding the boat in the parking lot, a tractor pulls us to the beach and through the low tide to deeper water. If the other passengers, mainly young backpackers, are laughing at two such obvious tourists, they politely hide it.
The boat motors through turquoise water, then backs up towards Apple Tree campground beach. The captain pushes a button and a long metal ramp extends toward the beach. Alan and I walk down the metal plank and turn to watch the boat disappear around the corner. Wearing straw hats, khaki pants
and cameras slung around our necks, we must look like aliens from another planet to the locals who are swimming and barbecuing on the beach.
A walk up the hill puts us on the two-hour walk back to Marahau. We’ve hiked from a pristine beach onto a ridge enclosed by rainforest. A dappled sun shines on huge ferns while melodious birdsong surrounds us. We cross over small bridges that travel over rocky creeks and beside waterfalls. Around a curve in the path, a slight clearing in the brush reveals another stunning water view.
Robert meets us halfway through the walk to explain the area’s flora and fauna. Finishing the hike, we drive back to Nelson via the coastal route. After wine and appetizers with Val and Wayne, Robert takes us to the Boatshed Restaurant where we enjoy another glass of New Zealand wine and an excellent dinner of beef and crab as we gaze at the sun setting over the bay.
There are more photos below