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August 14th 2016
Published: August 14th 2016
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A fine day today, so off to Lake Rotoiti. From Nelson you head off towards the West Coast, through the vineyards and apple orchards. Nelson is a vibrant growing community with many bows to its quiver. Tourism, fishing, wines, fruits, farming and a massive forest and logging industry.
Past the historic village of Wakefield and head off through St Arnaud's to the lake nestled in the mountains. This lake and the rivers were an area that the Maoris used as an access to the west coast which was the site for gathering the highly prized greenstone or pounamu. Huge eels could be seen swimming off the jetty, they are protected and happily swim amongst the ducks and swans. The water in winter is around 4-5 degrees, so no swimming or water sports until summer. The depth is 80 metres, camping areas both free and paid are around the lake areas as are walking and tramping tracks. The department of conservation manage all these areas which are well signed, with information plaques. The start of the Buller River comes from this lake, with both lake and river able to be fished. New Zealand is very 'green'; the environment, rubbish, recycling, and conservation, are hot topics and important in maintaining the worldwide image of New Zealand as a pristine unspoiled environment. Fishing is a money trap for the visitor. You are forced to buy a fishing license as a non resident which costs over $150-. Resident licenses are much more affordable with day, week, winter, season and other passes all available. But then there are complications such as some rivers are in season, some not, mouths of rivers counted as rivers, sea fishing allowed, very complicated, with fines if caught doing the wrong thing. Bit of a dampener for tourism. The little town of St Arnaud's has a cafe and corner store, plus a brilliant cafe and historic boat museum. The museum has an honesty box, with some great displays of motors and boats all beautifully restored with information boards. Coming back into Nelson you go through Brightwater, where there is a historic display commemorating the birthplace of Ernest Lord Rutherford of Nelson. This is the man that split the atom, one of 12 children, Mum was a school teacher, Dad managed a farm and sawmill. A mighty achievement for a boy from a small rural area. Throughout his life he missed out on scholarships, applications to colleges and degrees; but he reapplied constantly and had tenacity in keeping on with his life's passion.

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