My New Zealand trip started in Nelson on the south island, which is famous for its sunshine, seafood, crafts and wineries. Nelson is the nation‘s sunniest region and the main centre is very historic, as Nelson is also New Zealand’s oldest city. Still struggling with my jet lag, and without knowing if I will manage to get over it during my short 10 day stay on the other side of the world, I put on my sunglasses, leave the cottage gardens of my the Grand Mercure Monaco Resorts and am ready to explore the little picturesque Nelson.
As I’m always longing to see the sea, my first task was to head off to the the shore on this sunny morning to still my desire. Azure skies and wide open spaces with a breathtaking never ending beach welcomed me and it was a blast. I forgot that I haven’t slept for 40 hours, got rid of my shoes and bags and ran into the water. I walked up and down the sand, gentle waves under my feet and with this bright and glistering morning light it was as if the horizon and water were melting together. I took a seat and looked over Haulashore Island and across Nelson Harbour through ‘The Cut’ to Tasman Bay.
My next stop was Nelson Saturday Market in Montgomery Square, which defies description. At first I was a little skeptical, but then I discovered all this lovely and beautiful handmade crafts, food, arty stuff, but especially the ‘Manaakitanga’ of the Kiwis. This loosely translates as ‘hospitality’ is definitely what the people in Nelson have embraced as part of the New Zealand experience. I saw potters, painters, sculptures, weavers and ceramists at work. The fresh aroma of espresso in my nose, I couldn’t decide of all the food carts offering the tasty prepared flavors of Nelson and other ethnic cultures. You should not miss out on Pic’s great peanut butter, which they produce in Nelson. Great people, great products, I would say. And not enough after this vibrant and lively market experience we met unique Halfdan Hanson, the son of Jens Hansen, who was the one and only Ringmaker for the ‘Lord of the Rings’. I don’t know if you are a big fan of that sort of movies, but anyway you can’t avoid to get in touch with it while you are in New Zealand. We strolled around the shop and atelier to explore the secret how to rule them all and I could’t help myself putting it on. By the way: Wasn’t too easy to get rid of it again.
After a short lunch we got into our cars and drove through the endless forests, sheep covered paddocks and bush-clad hills to finally relax on the Woollaston Estate vineyard. It’s a beautiful setting to finish the afternoon, with fantastic views over 50 hectares of the lush vineyards, fine wine, their private art gallery and a little insight view in the secrets of producing good wine. I mean, it’s a long way to fly for a glass of wine, but I would say it’s acutally worth it if you are into that kind. Awfully hungry I can totally recommend filling your belly with the tasteful fresh seafood at Boatshed Café, which sits perched over the Nelson Haven in a historic boatbuilding shed. Or at Hopgoods Restaurant und Bar with regional cuisine, wine and beers, where you should not miss out on the truffle gnocchi with asparagus, broad beans, lemon and parmesan. Happy and cosy I went to a good nights sleep after my eventful first day in this little paradise.
Waking up after a way to short night by a lovely waking call, still confused with the time, they put us in a car and straight away to a breakfast cruise on the Yonder Star, an eighty-seven-foot long boat, which was scrupulously renovated by New Zealand’s craftsmen. I easily forgot my sleepiness over this amazing views of the harbor and bays, with the natural light and morning fog floating through the atmosphere, while we were silently gliding past hidden coves, quiet bays, sandy beaches and rocky bluffs. I felt the wind in my hair and while having this delicious breakfast and watching the seals, I couldn’t stop myself from boarding the ship. Aye Aye Captain, full speed ahead to Marlborough.
Nelson Market · Montgomery Square · 7010 Nelson
8 am to 1 pm
Text & pictures by Anke Nunheim