Nelson, I love you!
So I realize that pretty much everywhere I go in New Zealand I come out saying, oh I LOVE (insert place here), Wanaka, Queenstown, Tekapo and and and… Which if you’ve been to NZ you can totally see why. And I’ve pretty much just got here!
For once I can say my thoughts and feelings are normal! Yay!
I think I would question a person’s mental state if they didn’t love every part of NZ! And let’s face it, I am not the one to be questioning anyones mental state.. but I digress.
Anyways… I have a new place to add to my I LOVE list.
That would be Nelson, beautiful Nelson and the Abel Tasman region.
Now I’ve only spent a few days on the top of the south island so I won’t sit here and write all your must dos and where tos and act like I’m a travel guru for that area. |That’s silly. But I will share with you what I love so far and how beautiful it is!
Nelson is the South island’s oldest city. Well known for the more than substantial amount of sunshine and beautiful weather. It attracts the creative and artistic type and gives a vibrant cheerful vibe.
I feel like I should live in NZ. I’ll paint, sip tea and walk the beaches every day. Sounds like a plan :p
The area is the gateway to the Abel Tasman National Park, Nelson Lakes National Park and Marlborough sounds. Beautiful lakes such as Lake Rotoiti and Lake Rotoroa , ocean coast line, mountains and wine country.
Our road trip up to sunshine capital was fantastic.
Nelson, the town, has so much to offer. Great pubs, museum of wearable art as well as a classic car museums. There’s numerous art galleries, tons of history and whether you go west to Abel Tasman, east to Marlborough sounds or south to the national park and lakes there is so much to explore!
We had to drive an hour east from Nelson to a sweet town called Havelock. There is a magical place where a bridge crosses the Pelorus River and is a starting point to many walks through the forests or you can get more adventures and do a bit of hiking or kayaking and find waterfalls and rock pools.
Now I don’t know if I was influenced by the fact that this area was a set for a part in Lord of the Rings, but whatever it was, the forest walk, the river.. it was just enchanting, and we only saw a small part.
Moving on to the other side of the Nelson region, our drive to the Abel Tasman was just wonderful. I can’t get enough of mountain sides with lush forests. I could do without the zig zag, make Lauren feel sick roads but I suppose you win some, you lose some.
Most people drive the coast to Kaiteriteri and stop there. We did stop quickly, quite a busy beach town, but someone suggested to keep going up to Marahau. So that’s where we went.
I’m glad we did. We stayed at their only campground, Marahau Beach Camp. There was a cute little restaurant attached to the office/store. There are a few places to rent kayaks, you can go horseback riding on the beach (surprisingly I didn’t go on that trek!), water taxis and cruises and tons of walks through the Abel Tasman park.
We decided to go sea kayaking. Marahau Sea Kayaking.. look them up 😉
I was just blown away about the fact I was in the middle of the ocean, well not really that’s just what I told myself, nothing like exaggerating.. but for a prairie girl that’s what it felt like. It was so exciting for me! We saw a few seals out playing out in the water. Unfortunately the first time my iPhone has failed me.. the zoom just couldn’t do it.
I suggest going up to Marahau especially if you’re kayaking. It’s just that much closer to the points of interest like Adele Island where you can see seals and penguins. The distance between Kaiterteri and Marahau is only about 12 minutes by car but if you’re kayaking it’s closer to an hour and most of what you’ll see is Split Apple Rock. Going up the coast from Marahau also has numerous entrances to the hiking track.
If you want to do a little kayaking and a little hiking you’re best off booking more of a freedom tour where you can leave your kayaks at a beach and hike the track. We wanted to kayak to the beach and walk back but we weren’t allowed to on the type of booking we made. A little disappointing but it just means we need to go back again and do some hiking! Which in a few weeks we are! That one played that one right. he he he.
Our last night was in St Arnaud. Got a few great shots of Lake Rotoiti. I would’ve liked to spend a little more time there since there’s lots of walks through the dense Beech forest and Mount Robert to climb if you feel real keen. It is a quite area with only a few places to stay and eat so if you go, aim to go for the hiking and if you can, take a boat out for the fishing.
The trip obviously was great. I absolutely love the ocean and the vibe coastal towns give off. I’d go back in a heartbeat. I always think I’ve missed out on things especially on a road trip because things have to move along in a timely fashion. Just have to remember you can’t always do everything, unless you’re on a permanent vacation but it’s the perfect excuse to just go back!
Have you been to the Nelson area? What did you like the most? Any suggestions for the next trip!?