Tahunanui Back Beach / Isel Park / Gardens of the World / Rutherford Memorial / Seifried's Winery

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November 23rd 2016
Published: December 5th 2016
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Last night the plan for today was that Sandra would go to 'work' at the op shop and Robin would take Bernie out fishing in his boat. I was going to stay home and catch up on some blogging and take Charlie for a walk. Unfortunately the weather had other ideas and it was too windy for the boys to go out fishing.

Sandra headed off just before 9.00am seeing as her plans were not affected by the wind! Robin decided that he and Charlie would take us out sightseeing to a couple of Charlie's favourite places. Our first destination was Tahunanui Back Beach. 'ReStore' is on the way so we stopped in there to check out a Christmas tree that had come into the shop that Sandra thought Robin might be interested in. The Christmas tree was rejected, but I purchased a NZ$1.00 pair of jandals (NZ for thongs) to wear at the beach because I didn't really bring any footwear suited to the beach.

The tide was way, way out so there was plenty of beach to explore! Charlie was let off the lead, but ran straight off so, when Robin caught up with him, it was straight back on the extend-a-lead. There were quite a few dogs down at the beach, all of them having a marvellous time running, fetching, swimming and digging. There was a puppy Golden quite intent on trying to dig to China. There were also a couple of people having kite-surfing lessons on the beach.

From the beach we drove around to Isel Park which has extensive gardens that allow dogs to be walked on lead. Even though he had already had a beach walk Charlie was still keen for a walk in the park! The park has a number of lawn areas where people are able to picnic, weather permitting. The park is also home to the biggest picnic table we've ever seen. It was made from a very large tree that had to be felled due to safety reasons. It was great to see it recycled in this way.

Isel Park is also home to Isel House which was built between 1848 and 1913 by two generations of the Marsden family. Thomas commenced work on the house and his son, James saw the building work completed. James married late in life and had no children. One of his sisters never married and the other sister's only child died at a young age. With no heirs to leave the property to it was bequeathed to the Anglican Church in 1930. The church sold it to the Nicholls family in 1938 and they made it their home until 1960 when the Nelson City Council purchased the house for use by the Nelson Historical Society.

The house wasn't restored until quite recently only opening to the public in its current format in 2003. The house is opened by volunteers so that visitors can explore the rooms and collections that showcase local history from the Victorian era to the present. We were very lucky that some rare pieces from the Marsden's porcelain collection have been brought out of storage only in the last couple of months to be displayed in the dining room.

We popped back to Robin and Sandra's to drop Charlie home, put out some washing and have a quick bite to eat before driving out to 'Gardens of the World'. Robin and Sandra's son, Paul and his partner, Sabi are coming over in February for a reaffirmation ceremony with friends and family members in NZ. The gardens have been booked for the event. The gardens have a large lawn area beside the lake on which marquees are erected for beautiful garden weddings.

Robin was going to take us out to the river, but the road was closed due to some tree felling work that was taking place. The reserve was closed because of the risk that the felled trees could slide into that area. Unfortunately we had to do a U-turn and miss seeing the river. Perhaps another day?

Instead Robin took us to visit the memorial to chemist and physicist Ernest Rutherford who was born in 1871 in Spring Grove, New Zealand. Rutherford was a pioneer of nuclear physics and the first to split the atom. He was awarded the 1908 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his theory of atomic structure. During his lifetime (1871–1937) Rutherford was responsible for a remarkable series of discoveries in the fields of radioactivity and nuclear physics. He discovered alpha and beta rays, set forth the laws of radioactive decay and identified alpha particles as helium nuclei.

After learning all about Nelson's most famous son Robin took us out to Seifried's Winery near Rabbit Island. With a chauffeur to drive us home Bernie and I tasted our way through the entire tasting list plus one other variety that had been opened today. The Sauvignon Blanc was nice and dry, the Chardonnay too woody and the Gewurztraminer a little too floral. The Pinot Noir was better than expected - we haven't drunk Pinot Noir for ages, I think it's gone quite out of fashion in Australian? The additional variety on offer today was Zweigelt. The founder of the vineyard is Austrian and Zweigelt is a very traditional Austrian grape variety. We quite liked it. We finished with their dessert wine which was a bit lighter than Australian varieties that we know. To avoid the NZ$6.00/head tasting fee we purchased three bottles of wine. Not really, we would have bought two or three bottles anyway ... unless it had been really unpalatable. We always feel a certain amount of obligation to buy some wine when they have spent time with you showcasing their product.

Our next stop was the Höglund Art Glass Gallery where we hoped to be able to see the glass blowers at work. Unfortunately the furnace was fired up melting glass for the next batch of work so there was no glass blowing today. Their gallery was impressive, but very, very expensive so we didn't buy any glass art. They had a small museum area that explained some of the glass blowing methods and the faults that can occur so it was still an interesting visit.

The card playing binge continued with Robin winning 'Jo' again! There has been such a reversal of fortune on this side of the Tasman. In Australia it was mostly Sandra and Bernie who had all the luck at 'Jo'. This side of the Tasman Robin and I are on fire! The home team won at Bolivia taking the New Zealanders to a narrow one game lead.

Steps 9,352 (7.05km

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