Sept 30th- Oct 5th
Leaving Kaikoura we headed back up the coast to Blenheim and to the Marlborough wine region, where we visited a few wineries and their cellar doors. First stop was Yealands. I have purchased this wine in Countdown and New World before and love it. We sampled a few of their best wines before taking a drive around the vineyard and the estate, we even spotted the North Island keeping to its name of 'the land of the long white cloud' as it was shrouded in clouds.
Continuing our drive around the Malborough region which produces around three quarters of the country's wines, we went to Cloudy Bay winery, which was classy and also not free, it was $5 each for a taste of 3 wines. We slowly sipped their famous sauvignon blanc and took some time to look around the vineyards.
Half way between Blenheim and our stop for the night Nelson, we came across Pelorus Bridge which connects the Rai River and Pelorus River, it is a scenic reserve where you can swim or tramp, we just went as it was another location in the Lord of the Rings movies when the Hobbit's roll down the river in barrels. It was a lovely location too.
We arrived in Nelson late afternoon, we have looked up a campsite on our 'Camping NZ' app, called 'Nelson City Top 10 Holiday Park'. We checked in and paid the expensive at $20.5pp x2 nights before finding our plot, it was the smallest plot of land, not really a space. The showers were hot and free though, and free herb plants to add to our cooked dinner in the indoor area. Wouldn't recommend to stay here though.
In Nelson we visited Christ Church Cathedral it was a bland grey colour and rather creepy looking. After wandering around the central area we parked the car on Hardy Street East and climbed up Botanical Hill, passing the site of the first ever rugby game in New Zealand, there are a couple of routes up, passing wild flower and fauna and rather ancient trees, all signposted along the way. From the top, named the Centre of New Zealand because it was a central survey point in the 1800's we had spectacular views over Nelson. The walk was easy to moderate but much easier on the way back down.