Day one proper in the South Island dawned with blue skies a good omen for our trip I thought to myself. After breakfast and a few chores around the van it was time to get the E Bikes out and head into town for some advice on the bike rails around Blenheim from the Information Centre a short 1 km ride from Reta’s (CAP# 7034) and at the end of the road.
Putting the batteries into the bikes we encountered a problem with Sarah’s bike with the E part of the bike not working. A consult with Dr. Google suggests counting the number of times the red light is flashing rather than staying constant. Instant answer replace the controller. That’s great we brought the bike in Auckland! So a phone call to the Electric Bike Hub in Auckland where I spoke to Morris who said no problem we can get it looked at down there but best of all if you can call Jase in Nelson he is the distributor for NZ and I am sure he can sort it for you.
A quick call to Jase resulted in a Plan to bring the bike to Nelson the next day and get it looked at. Not quite where we planned on heading but we wanted the bike sorted and this looked like the best option.
We decided that we would go for a ride anyway so we took the batteries out of both bikes and headed off to the I Site there they told us about the cycle way that follows the river and being a flat ride sounded ideal for us. Despite getting clear instructions I immediately headed in the wrong direction and took a couple of minutes to realise this and then when we did get to the cycle way I again headed in the wrong direction. Don’t ask me to ever find the way again. Once we got underway properly it was a very pleasant riding track following the river an easy cycle for two unfit novice cyclists.
Sarah had us well prepared with a bottle of water each in the basket on the back of her bike unfortunately she hadn’t tightened the lids very well and the bottles were more than half empty before we realised. Given that it was a very hot day not the best thing to have happen.
The water on the river was crystal clear and very tempting to jump in for a swim however a notice mentioning bacterial contamination put paid to that idea. With the sun beating down with temperatures in excess of 30 degrees it was so hard not to jump in.
Friday morning and it was off at 9am to Nelson to meet Jase from E Bike Hub and have the bike sorted. We had agreed to meet in Boulder Bank Drive as this was opposite his warehouse and an easier option than trying to drive up his driveway. Jase mentioned to us that the repairs might take a little while so he suggested that we could either head into town or explore the Boulder Bank at the end of the road. The second largest feature like this in the world. Finding a good place to park the camper we headed off right away from the camper, we could just have easily gone left as it stretched well into the distance both ways.
What a great walk that was with km after km of boulders and driftwood. We found these tepee like structures as well as the abandoned camping chairs as well as the lady who was walking the dogs who were having a great time running around. A couple of hours later we got back to camper for a bite to eat. Not long after this Jase called to say the bike was ready and once we had loaded this into the van it was time to move on.
Using the NZMCA travel directory we found the Eden Gardens run by Joyce and Les a couple of wonderful hosts who have created four fantastic parking bays in their large garden area and at $10 for the night including water and rubbish disposal it was an absolute bargain for such a well cared for area. The only drawback for Sarah was that with the site right next door to Highway 6 the traffic noise was a constant background drone making sleep difficult.
When we arrived at Eden Gardens (#6274), Joyce gave Sarah an information sheet with a attractions and local places nearby. Again misreading the instructions we took off on or bikes (now repaired) towards what we thought was the local beach. Turns out we were nowhere near the beach and the swimming talked about in the instructions was for the river at the end of the road. Anyway we had an enjoyable bike ride and made it worthwhile by coming across a place that made fresh fruit icecreams and we both had a mixed fruit waffle cone, they were yum.
The next day we headed off to the WOW (World of Wearable Arts) Museum and at $24 per adult it wasn’t cheap but I think it was worth every cent with some fantastic Dresses or wearable art. I could have filed a blog just on this but that’s not the point of this page. All the displays had video behind them showing them in the show situation it was great viewing.
The museum also has two large halls full of all sorts of cars and again I could fill up another whole blog dedicated to the cars and there history. It was fascinating to see the diversity of vehicles on display.
After enjoying the WOW museum so much we wanted to see some of the other things that Nelson has to offer and after consulting the Authority on all things (Google) we came across the Nelson Historical Society. When we arrived the street was jam packed with cars and the car park overflowing thinking this must be popular we drove down the street and found a park. Joining the queue to enter we discovered that the Explore Festival was being held in the grounds A sort of “hippie” gathering and after having paid $25 each to get into the park it was disappointing to discover some of the buildings closed off for the exclusive use of festival goes who had paid even more to attend. Both of us wished that they had told us at the gate that this was the case and we would not have bothered going.
Thankfully right next door to the Historical Society was a Japanese Garden that was so peaceful and refreshing to walk through. It was to be honest in need of a little maintenance and weeding but after the disappointment next door very nice.
With the temperature hitting 30 plus degrees it was time to hit the beach and with Rabbit Island a short drive away we hit the golden sands for the first swim of our South Island adventure. The tide was out making the water shallow and someone must have left the hot tap on because it was so warm it was like getting into a bath in winter. It was however very refreshing.
On the way to Rabbit Island I spotted the white heron in this photo and whilst we were out of the van taking the photo we noticed on the other side of the estuary a couple of campers. Using the NZMCA app we discovered the Green Acres Golf Club POP (#6223) and decided to check it out. Upon arrival the area is clearly marked under the shade of the trees and with only two other campers here and well away from the traffic a much quieter night was in store for us than the previous.