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Moving on to the Abel Tasman

Wednesday 21st October 2015

sunny 20 °C

I had enjoyed Picton so much that I didn't particularly relish leaving, but leave we must. We packed up our things (again) and left them in the apartment while we went to collect our hire car from down by the ferry terminal. We only just caught the woman who said they only wait at the sub office until 10:15 and then they go back to their main office. I was slightly irritated as we hadn't been made aware of the time limit or the fact that there was more than one office. Anyway despite this and other minor irritations we were soon in the car, and having gone back and loaded our bags, were on our way to Nelson and the Abel Tasman National Park beyond. The most direct route initially runs north and then west winding its way around the edge of Queen Charlotte's Sound. The longer but less winding route goes south before turning west and then north in a squared off U shape. We decided to go by the latter route because although longer was an easier and faster drive. Also we are staying for one night on the edge of one of the bays after our visit to the Abel Tasman and will travel the 'scenic route' then.

The early part of the journey was the most picturesque with high snow topped mountains in the distance and the Marlborough Vineyards either side of the road.


We stopped at the Hunters winery cellar door and tasted several of the whites and a couple of reds. Nigel, who was driving was the one that had to 'spit' again, I on the other hand happily drank all that was offered to me. We ended up buying just one bottle of 2013 Pinot Gris as we couldn't really manage to carry much more as we still had the two bottles of the Hawkes Bay red. We then continued on our way passing by heavily forested hillsides as we went, until we reached the coast just outside the town of Nelson.


We stopped here to get enough provisions at our now favoured supermarket chain New World, to last us for the next three days, as we presumed that we wouldn't have many shops near where we were going to be staying. For most of the rest of the journey we were running alongside the coast but initially this was a bit industrial and then we were a few streets away from the shore so any potential view was obscured by shops and streets of housing. Once we were north of the town of Motueka the road started to climb until we reached the turning for our accommodation. We then had to drive about a kilometre up the gravel drive before we got to the house. Fraser Highlands Retreat is a modern building but with some of the grandeur of a Scottish lairds dwelling. The owners Jim and Sue met us on their doorstep and we all walked back up the drive to the little cottage that was going to be our home for the next few days. Sue explained that she was originally from Lancashire and met Jim, a New Zealander, in the UK. They originally built/ converted the cottage and lived in it whilst building the main house. The cottage is very cosy and homely and couldn't be more different from our apartment in Picton.


Given that it had been home for the owners for a couple of years it would certainly do us for a few nights. There is clearly a Scottish connection and given their name is Fraser and Jim plays the bagpipes (according to the visitors book) I am presuming it is on his side. We settled in and spent some time admiring the view, before Nigel cooked us a delicious meal of spaghetti bolognese washed down with a glass of red.

Posted by Gill's Travels 02:42 Archived in New Zealand Tagged mountains new_zealand abel_tasman vineyards

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