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Doing it Like the Locals Do

Saturday 24th October 2015

sunny 18 °C

We woke up to a lovely sunny morning proving the old saying 'red sky at night, shepherds delight'.

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It was another moving on day today as we were going back towards Picton in preparation for a train journey to Kaikoura on Sunday. We had some breakfast and packed up and loaded our bags into the car, before going to say goodbye to Sue and Jim. We got chatting and they offered to show us round their garden. They have a large plot of land and they had obviously done a lot of work to make it into the garden it is today with lots of native plants as well as camellias and rhododendrons (which may or may not be native I'm not sure). I got the impression from Sue that keeping the rabbits out is a harder job than preventing the native bush from encroaching. We spoke for quite a while and it was lovely chatting to them, but after half an hour or so we decided we ought to get on our way.

Before we left the area completely I wanted to have a brief look at the coastal area near Riwaka that we could see from our cottage. From there it looked as though there was a small island joined to the mainland by a causeway. Sue had told us that you couldn't actually walk to Outer Island as it was linked by a muddy estuary. Nevertheless we thought it was worth a look and indeed it was very pretty and at the time we visited the mud flats were exposed as the tide was out.

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Once we had finished looking and taking photographs we got on our way, passing through the town of Motueka and then circling round the bay and on towards the town of Nelson. Once we got some distance between us and the Abel Tasman area we were able to see the height of the mountains in the distance with their snow covered peaks.

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We decided to stop off for coffee at a little place called the Boat Shed Cafe that overlooks Nelson Haven and the Tasman Bay beyond. We didn't have anything to eat as be had a picnic with us, although we regretted that somewhat when we saw the delicious food they brought out for other people.

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Once we had finished our drinks we continued on State Highway 6 passing through wide valleys and farmland until we reached the small town of Havelock. This was where we turned off onto the smaller and more winding Queen Charlottes Drive. In the end this wasn't as difficult a drive as we had expected and although there were quite a number of bends it was always wide enough to let two cars pass. As we started to climb we had a good view back over the town and Pelorus Bay, one of many that feed into the Sound. At the top of the hill there was a lookout at a place called Cullen Point. We hadn't eaten and it was well into the afternoon so we took some food with us. In the end this was a little further and much steeper than we anticipated.

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Fortunately there was somewhere to sit once we got to the top and so we were able to rest and eat at the same time. It was then time to get back to the car and continue round to the village of Anakiwa where we would be staying for the night before driving back to Picton in the morning.

Our B &B, Owika Bay Lodge was in a stunning position overlooking the bay and Queen Charlottes Sound beyond. We had a great welcome from our hosts Susie and Martin who had moved out from the UK about five years ago. They showed us to our room which had the best view in the house and then Susie made us a cup of tea and brought out some home made biscuits.

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They had contacted us a day or two previously asking us whether we would like to go to a charity art auction with them in aid of the nearby school in Linkwater. We just had time to have a dip in their lovely wooden hot tub before we needed to get ready to go out. Martin drove us the short distance to the village hall, and once there we were given a glass of wine and there were loads of delicious canap├ęs brought round by some of the children from the school. There was some lovely artwork on show and it seemed a good idea to loosen people's wallets by plying them with wine before starting the auction. We were quite surprised just how much money some of the pieces went for, not that they weren't worth it but because it meant people parting with quite a lot of money. It turned out that some of the bidders where dealers from Christchurch, such is the reputation of this annual event. Although there were a couple of pictures and at least one sculpture I would have liked to bid for, this was totally impractical given the distance we were from home. There was a well known local jeweller who had put there rings in, and although I didn't bid for them at the time, I did speak to her afterwards and ended up asking her to make me one. We agreed that we would sort out the finer points in the morning as she would be back then helping out at the family fun.

Martin bid for quite a few pictures including two very professional looking ones done by children at the school and two very nice photographs of local scenes. He is quite a keen amateur photographer and makes items out of wood and there were quite a lot of examples of his work in the house. While he collected his purchases we went back to the house with Susie and two of their friends who were staying the night. We had a cup of tea when we got back and we all sat together chatting for a while before turning in.

Posted by Gill's Travels 13:40 Archived in New Zealand Tagged mountains new_zealand abel_tasman

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