Another early morning began our second day of travel to Nelson, taking us through some breathtaking mountainous terrain and arriving mid afternoon. We took a trip to the supermarket, made dinner and had a film night in our fancy private double bed room with decent free wifi. We treated ourselves to a long lie in before heading out for breakfast, which proved hard to find; Nelson pretty much shuts down in off season, and on Sunday hardly anything was open to grab a coffee from. We perservered until we found one cafe open, and then made our way downtown to the Queens Gardens.
It is a really lovely park to walk around, and we spent an hour enjoying the lake, sculpture and japanese gardens and watching the local orienteering competition taking place. Then we walked back up to the Cathedral, a rather odd and imposing structure in the centre of town that overlooked a small green area. After a quick shower and chill back at the hostel, we decided on a local activity: unfortunately, the wine tours offered were a little pricey for us, so instead we found a wine bar and made our own little ‘tour’ of NZ wines and craft beers. Four hours of sitting by a fire, with three delicious wines, a local beer, and the best arancini outside of Italy, made our hearts and cheeks glow rosy and was a great way to spend our time in Nelson. We mistakenly tried to eat dinner after returning to the hostel and were forced to recline in bed for hours watching Netflix, nursing cloudy heads and over-full stomachs.
An early morning start again greeted us as we started a day trip to the Abel Tasman national park. Once reaching the park by minibus ride we took a two hour boat ride up and down the coast, with the famous Split Apple rock, fur seal colony, and ‘cathedral’ arches pointed out to us by our guide and skipper. Halfway through our return down the coast, we were dropped off on Medlands beach and began a four hour walk along the coastal track. The views were amazing and our surroundings seemed to change every five minutes, from dense and humid forest to sparse vegetation to open tracks overlooking the bays and sea below. We walked the extra bits to South Head point, Swing Bridge and Cleopatra’s Pool, making it back just in time to catch the return ferry. After a quick meal back in town we warmed up in the hostel’s sauna (more of a smelly wardrobe) and tucked ourselves into bed in record time, ending a fun few days in Nelson and our time on NZ’s South Island.