Top of the South
After an exhausting day kayaking in the nearby Abel Tasman National Park, we were happy to have a laid back morning in Nelson before we needed to head to our next destination a few hours south. The night before as we drove back into town, we'd stopped to watch the sun set at Tahunanui Beach, which was laughably so windy I almost couldn't stand straight but yielded some incredible photos regardless.
Nelson, also nicknamed the Top of the South, is a quaint city on the northernmost coast of New Zealand's south island. There are a few pretty beaches near the center of town, a waterfront marina area that unfortunately looked cute but we did not have time to explore, and Nelson is also home to the center of New Zealand.
After breakfast at Ford's Restaurant (eggs benedict, my breakfast addiction), we walked over to the Queen's Gardens to see a little more of the area. It was a lovely park of meandering streams and luscious greenery, all in bloom in the height of summer. Then we drove around a little passing some lovely Victorian-style homes around town and I can definitely say I think there was more to Nelson than what we had the time to see. Like Wellington, I wish I could've stayed to explore some more. But we headed out of town to the next stop, another winery, for lunch. Neudorf Vineyards is tucked in between a variety of farms and other wineries in the hills near Nelson. It wound up being our favorite winery that we visited on the entire trip. We took home some bottles of Pinot Gris, Rosé, and we popped open a bottle for our lunch of wine and cheese. Then it was time to head to the coast, a few hours drive to where we were staying. The drive was mostly forested and deserted, indicating the last stretch of full-blown civilization we would see for awhile. The path cutting through the mountains was apparently following the same road that had been used for centuries by Maori and then by traders in the 1800s, winding along beside the riverbed. We stopped here and there for photos but essentially drove straight through to our hotel, ate dinner, and went to bed exhausted.