Golden Bay, on the other side of the Takaka Hill, looked quite different from the area around Nelson – much more lushly green, less wineries, more sheep and cattle. I know there’s a dairy factory there somewhere so that explains all the cows – or maybe the cows explain the dairy factory! Lots of what I think of as very “English” scenery – single trees here and there just coming into leaf, little rivers, grass – although the wonderful, steep mountains on either side belied the English look! And they really are steep: great swoops of rock with a tiny bit of grass and scrub, but most of it is so steep (read nearly vertical) that there isn’t purchase for plants. Also I think the limestone/marble is probably too alkaline for most plants. I’d imagine it gets a little cold through there in winter: there was still snow on the tops, especially on Hoary Head.
We had lunch in tiny Collingwood, and then went out to Farewell Spit and walked the beach – not all of it (too far for 4 year old legs!) but a good two hours or so wandering along. Lots of jellyfish washing up on the beach fascinated daughter: she was scared at first when we told her not to touch them (they looked quite colourful and we didn’t want her trying to pick one up), but then I explained how they propelled themselves but still got washed onto the beach. She decided that the jellyfish were having “a bad day” because they were drying out on the beach!
On the way back to Nelson we stopped off at Waikoropupu Springs, which I’ve already blogged about here. I loved this place, but was slightly uneasy about it too. It was unbelievably beautiful – you have to see it to really comprehend how lovely it is – but it is a place of power too and I felt it. I think it would have been easier had we been allowed to touch the water, as it would have given me a physical connection with the place.
Friday I was working, and hubby and small daughter went out to Split Apple Rock – the tide was right out so they could get into the caves near there that are underwater at high tide. It looked really lovely. They also did a bit of driving around the general area, heading down towards the Nelson Lakes. We went to Chokdee, my favourite Thai place in Nelson, for dinner.... mmm, Thai!
Saturday, our last full day, was spent at the World of WearableArt museum (I’ve been before, but the others haven’t – love it) and Founders Park, a craft area that’s set up in a pioneer village situation (also mixed with historical displays). There is an extensive collection of ships in bottles (and bouys, and lightbulbs, and vases!) that daughter found really interesting. WOW was amazing as always: they had cycled through a different collection of costumes from the ones I’d seen before and seeing them up close and personal like that was incredible. Next year I really want to go to the show!
We then split forces: hubby wanted to go to the Nelson Museum and daughter and I headed off for a swim, and a walk on the beach afterwards. We came home on Sunday – it was rainy and miserable on the ferry, but a very smooth sailing on the whole, and we enjoyed breaking our cat out of kitty prison and bringing him home again – he has been very affectionate since so he obviously appreciated being rescued!