The Road to Nelson – the home of Sid and Night Swimmers!
What I didn’t tell you last week was that I was travelling with my friend Claire.
I used to think, when I was married and had children in tow, that I would love to be alone sometimes. But once you are it is a very different situation. I remember the first time I was able to wander around Byron Bay (my favourite place in the world) by myself. The first hour was great and I was able to be just Stephanie, not mum or wife, just Stephanie. But a very strange thing happened – I began wishing that I had someone to have a coffee with, very strange and very unexpected. And to coin a phrase made famous by that prophet of modern cinema, Hugh Grant, in “About a Boy”, I realised “I was not an island”. Anyway so, the point is I realised that I needed people, so now I travel with friends and at least the last couple of times, that would be Claire. So my advice is find a travel buddy!
We arrived in Nelson after about an hour drive from Picton, past wineries (Stoneleigh was one that I remember) and picture perfect scenery. Nelson is a pretty little town set by the water. It is actually a major port for fishing, timber and yachties. We had already booked our accommodation at The Bug Backpackers. It turned out to be a great choice, situated about 1km from the Nelson CBD but that wash’t a problem for us cause we had a car. It is very clean and has a great garden out the back. I was glad we had pre booked a twin room cause everything was full. It was perfect for us and even had a sink, which isn’t always the case The owners are an English couple who love living in NZ. They care about their backpackers and you can tell, which is more than I can say for some. In the morning there is freshly brewed coffee and fresh baked bread in the kitchen, but you have to get in quick cause it is a first in first served situation.
Nelson is an arty town and there is plenty to see and enjoy. It is funny cause many years ago my ex and I gave a person called Sid a lift to Sydney from Queensland. He actually came from Nelson and worked on the fishing trawlers there. I had this badly misconceived idea about the type of person that lived in Nelson based on what Sid had told us about his live in Nelson, and that wasn’t pretty if you know what I mean.
We did try to find some live music on the second night we were there but unfortunately on a Thursday night the entertainment doesn’t start till 10 or 10.30 pm. Far too late a start for me and I can hear all you young people scoffing, don’t worry you’ll feel the same soon.
Anyway there is something else that is very interesting about Nelson, it is the closest in Temperature to Australia than any other NZ destination. Apparently it i is very sheltered so the weather doesn’t vary too much from Summer to Winter. The temperature in February when we were there was fabulous.
There is another interesting thing we noticed about Nelson, the residents come out to swim after seven o’clock at night. Apparently they have this tradition of evening swimming. Weird right? They have a long twilight so it is still quite light till late at night even at the end of Summer. I heard a story while I was there about a group of swimmers in Nelson ( they were actually a club of night swimmers) that were followed by something with a fin. It was said to be a dolphin hut hey I’m Australian and I know that if you are being followed by anything with a fin at night you can bet your life it’s usually a shark.
* Nelson had great op shops in the same street as we were staying.
* We picked up the cutlery etc I mentioned last week.
* We did our shopping at a major supermarket in Nelson
* I also picked up homemade jam, relish and lemons from senior citizen stalls
Motueka and Golden Bay next week.