Monday, 24 September 2012

Nelson NZ 2012

Greetings from sunny Nelson! We have been absolutely blessed with the weather - although crisp for a sunny Queensland girl, it has been clear and bright. All has gone smoothly, from our initial getaway from BNE (for the first time at a civilised hour!) to our arrrival in Wellington in the afternoon, where I was delighted to see the WoW banners featuring BioLumina! OMG!!

 First stop was the Intercontinental to visit Fimbria Figura, who was set up near the front window and looking fab.

Then it was on to the 3C's for a beverage -aaaahhhhhh, then to Mac's brewery for their delightful Great White beer (I LOVE it!!) and a dericious lamb burger! This was Matt's 'Apparently, I look ordinary' face, after the lady at Hanne Andersen in Wellington accused him of being so!
Then back to my favourite old haunt, One Red Dog (affectionately known to me as the Dead Dog) where we indulged in a Passionfruit Cosmo, an Apple Martini and a Long Island Iced Tea, before trying the Cactus.

Tuckered out, it was an early night with an early start the next day to catch the ferry to Picton. It was a beautiful trip, again with magical weather, and it went in a heartbeat.

 We picked up our rental car, and set off for Nelson, keen to set up home base. With no actual address for home base, we kind of just drove around until we found it, but that worked!! After settling in, we walked around town, exploring the gardens at the top, where I found daffodils, freesia's, snowdrops and gardenias. I also found a funky tree.....
 Matt was keen for refreshments, so I left him and continued on walking, and found the lovely Queens Gardens at the end of town. I continued on to walk along the river - what a magnificent back yard for these residents!
Saturday morning we ventured out - me in my running gear, Matt on the hunt for breakfast. We found the markets just setting up (around 7:30 -  little different to our market 4am setups!!) and agreed to meet back there after I had gone for a run. I enjoyed running around the town with the anticipation of markets ahead of me! Athough I didn't purchase anything, I saw lots of lovely crafts, including some lovely nuno felt scarves with lovely Leceister fringes, and some gawdjuss hand carved mushrooms in wood - some low and squat, some on long sticks to drive into the ground. I could just imagine them after a few years in a garen, all covered in moss and lichen! After some German sausages for Matt and a simple egg and bacon brekky at home for me, it was into the car and off towards Abel Tasman National Park. We stopped off at the Hoglund Artglasss studio on the way, which was absolutely magnificent, and had a wonderful entry of blossom trees.
Then onwards towards Mapua wharf, a magnificent sight on such a gorgeous day. We then continue on to Abel Tasman Park, and ventured in a short way in the midst of a big race! We had to wait at bridges for entrants to run across, and even had our photo taken!!

On the way home we stopped off at the Sprig and Fern at Motueka, where the lovely Publican sat down and had a chat with us,, whilst we sampled their fine beers. Matt is keen to sample their rum cask aged beer which gets released this Tuesday, with an alcohol content of 9.7%!! On hearing we were WoW designers, she was very keen to get out signatures in the visitors book, and we were more than happy to extoll the virtues of a pub that had no screens and no pokies  yeah!!!
We went to 623 for drinks and dinner, where Matt enjoyed 'as good as American' BBQ ribs and I had a decadent Spanokopita. A band with 3 saxophones, a clarinet and goodness knows what else was setting up, but they took so long we couldn't wait for them!
Sunday dawned gorgeous again, and we headed off to Blenheim, which we later learned was called 'Blenhole' - yup, we totally get it. Nothing was open, it was too early for the main attraction of wineries, and the one happening cafe was seriously underwhelming, including once again, the coffee. Merlo, please come to NZ and introduce a proper, well rounded, not bitter, gawdjuss coffee!!
Off then to Picton, a typically quiet town, on yet another gawdjuss day. The highlight for me was Seaside Gems, a lovely shop with your typically lovely host NZ man, plus beautiful glass and jewellery works. My heart was stolen by a crazy silver work and pearl ring, which I should have bought, but sadly did not....
It was then back to Nelson for a late lunch with WoW Designer Julie Brawley at the Boathouse Cafe, where I enjoyed scallops whilst looking at the sparkling ocean. After seeing photos of her entry, I could not reciprocate with photos on my phone as planned, so invited her back to our abode o show pics from the hard-drive. It was great to catch up - still not entirely sure how we ended up talking about shots of bull semen at the Hokitika food festival.......
Being Sunday night and on holidays I though bugger it, and stayed up until midnight drinking and watching Family Guy, South Park and music videos - I know, MIDNIGHT!! I am one crazy lady.......
Up slightly later than usual, brekky at the Morrison Street Cafe where I indulged in the pancakes for once - wholemeal, which gave them a great texture. Served with a ricotta and berry mix and maple syrup, they were delicious, yet I craved the naughty creaminess of some cream or icecream with them! Having eaten more then my fill ("I feel sick"!) we wandered off heading towards the walk to the lookout at the centre of NZ.  After 20 minutes of near vertical walking, Matt was devastated to see a sign pronouncing '30 minutes to lookout', and so we headed back down.

 We walked a bit more around the town and river, and visited the lovely jewellery gallery Lustre, where I found a pair of earrings that looked so lichen inspired and something I would like to make. Still considering.....
After deciding to save the WoW museum experience for tomorrow, our last day here which is supposed to be rainy, we decided to blob, and after some enjoyable reading in the sun, eating of cheese and a wee kip, I headed off in search of a massage. I ended up walking all around town, visiting the FlameDaisy glass shop, and stumbling across a lovely ceramic art gallery, where I bought some gawdjuss ceramic mushrooms and sea urchin inspired bowls. I also very much enjoyed talking to the gallery owner, who filled me in more on WoW's previous years in Nelson, even admitting to being one of the 'BIG' sponsors in the early years for the grand sum of $500! A bit different to the patronage now of Air NZ and the Brancott Estate!!
Today was finished with another dinner at 623 - didn't have the scallops as they weren't from NZ (WTF?!!) but had a delicious pork backstrap with parsnip mash and prosciutto salad. Back tomorrow for dessert only - I want cheesecake!!!
Night all!!

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