Nelson, New Zealand

Abel Tasman National Park

August 3 – 8, 2016

Getting to Nelson, New Zealand:

We left Raleigh-Durham on August 1st, flew to L.A. (5.5hrs), then to Auckland (13 hrs) and from there to Nelson (1.5 hrs) on the south island, arriving on August 3rd. We flew American Airways and our flight from L.A. to Auckland was in an amazing aircraft called The Voyager. We were served breakfast, lunch and dinner, and were able to watch as many movies as we wanted as well as get a lot of really good sleep. We had a 2-hour stopover before our next flight but we arrived in Auckland 2 hours late so we missed our connecting flight to Nelson and waited 4 hours for the next flight with seats. For those interested in cost information, we will be adding a post about costs in New Zealand but our flights cost $960 each (one-way all the way to Nelson, including taxes).

The Nest

We changed money in the airport and took a taxi to The Nest, the airbnb where we would stay for the next 5 nights before going on to Karamea.

The Nest is in a great location with lovely hosts, Lilly & Dave. It was  just a few minutes from town and the supermarket. The outdoor patio was great and the view from the balcony was  beautiful. We enjoyed the company of Miss Muppet and Elfie, our furry friends and entertainment for the duration of our stay.

Nelson is a great town to walk around in with beautiful views of the ocean and mountains. We spent a week there but we could have spent another week or two. There are lots of restaurants, including a really great Indian restaurant, Indian Café, and lots of cafés, like this one, Kush Café, that had shelves of books, various seating options. We migrated to the couch with our ‘tall whites’ which seems to be any coffee with milk (rather than short blacks).

Hanging at Kush Café.

The Center of New Zealand

We took a walk along the river that runs along Nelson and hiked up a trail to The Center of New Zealand.

The 20-minute path leads up to gorgeous views!

The famous Nelson Market

Having heard about this market before we arrived we’d made sure to be in town over a Saturday and were so glad we did! The best donuts in the world live there and we would go back in a heartbeat for more!

Photos 1 &2: The doughnuts, made by an Italian man must be the best in the world! I would go back to Nelson just for some more of these. He told us that traditionally these donuts are round but because of the arthritis in his hands it was easier to make this shape. They have slight tastes and aromas of oranges, cardamon and anise.
3: We never did try the dutch apple donuts, maybe we will have to return?!
4 & 5: the bows, made by Glen on the right, look like wood but are made of pvc making them waterproof and light.
6: Bowls and spatulas made from beautiful New Zealand wood which is abundant here.
7 & 8: So many different kinds of hazlenuts!
9: Dumplings? There’s quite a few Asians in New Zealand
10: Beautiful deep orange mandarins!
11: These pendants are made for couples, each person wearing half that fits perfectly with the second half.
12: The pendant and netsuke maker, Fumio, from Japan. He was a newspaper editor before he moved to New Zealand 17 years ago. He moved because he didn’t want to raise his son in Japan. His website is
13: A more typical farmers market stand.
14: Woolen sweaters and dresses. Loved the colors!
15: A plane made of coca-cola cans!
16: This one is made from cans saying ‘Kentucky bourbon and cola’.
17: Entertainment! All the street musicians in Nelson were amazing artists!

Abel Tasman National Park

On our last day in Nelson, we did a trip to Abel Tasman National Park. A whole day – bus then boat, drop off so we could hike some of the coast, pick up, boat and then bus back to Nelson.

1 & 2: We were picked up at 7:15am and arrived at the boat at 8:45. It was a beautiful departure point!
3: There were about a dozen others on the boat.
4 – 6: We had chosen the ‘Discovery Day’, a 2-hour boat ride past golden beaches
7: Blane at the back of the boat
8 & 9: Fur-Seal colonies. How many can you see?
10: Coast  & 11: Caves
12: This is where we got off 13: At Medland Beach 14: with views of the ocean on one side and views of the river on the other
15: The lighting on me isn’t great but look at the view behind me!
16 – 18: Blane looking so cute and comfortable
19 & 20: Before we begin our hike
21: And off we go on our 4-hour hike
22: The view of where the boat had dropped us off.
23 – 26: Lovely forest paths
27 – 30: The detour to this beach said it would take 5-minutes but seriously? It was more like 40-minutes! But look at those views!
31: We had chosen a 4-hour hike called Forests and Swing Bridges
32: View from the bridge, 33: View of the forest, 34: View of the ocean
35: View of us. Selfie without s selfie stick. You can see right up my nose!
36: We did another of those 5-minute detours and again it put another 30 or so minutes on our hike, cutting way into the 4-hours we had to do the hike and get back for the boat!
37 – 38: The rest of the way we really had to hustle. Really, if I had gears I would have been in overdrive!
39: A moments rest on another bridge before moving on
40: This is not Cleopatra’s Pool. We had to miss it and how can you miss something with a name like that!
Overall, it was a beautiful hike and we wouldn’t have wanted to miss those detours because those were the places that were extraordinarily beautiful. But it was badly planned by the company. If the tide is low you have more time because you’re on a different part of the track and can probably do those detours no problem. But nobody told us what we could or should do…

The next day, Monday, tired and not nearly as achey as we thought we’d be after such a hard walk, we were off to Karamea!

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