Today I am on mission coffee (after three bad nights sleep I neeeeeed coffee!) and hat! I find a hat! Whoop! It looks a bit like a white version of my old one. The only trouble... No chin strap and so I make a note to keep an eye out for a haberdashery store to get some elastic.
It took me about 5minutes to remember the word haberdashery. ;)
I quickly drive to the beach in Motueka, to see what it's like and why people drive to the others instead. It's very flat and shallow and I can understand why people prefer the others as it would take you a good long way to get any depth of water.
I notice on the way back that I parked next to the Tree of Soles, the kiwis have a sense of humour:
Checked out of the hostel and with my new hat and caffeine infusion I head off to the city of Nelson. I have no idea what to expect. I have been told there isn't much there and I have been told there is loads and it's beautiful. It seems I will have to judge for myself.
Nelson is a much bigger and more buzzing place, more akin to Queenstown but without the polished and slick feel. It feels more of a working practical town and merges busy streets with nice park areas.
This is Anzac Park which commemorates fallen soldiers:
And I come out with some clothes and yet another hat! ;) I also manage to find some elastic and so I head to my new hostel to check in and to adapt my new hat.
My hostel is awesome! Hurrah! And my room comes without the smell of mould... Luxury! :) It also has free wifi and nice chatty people who I would happy sit and socialise with all evening - especially as there are guitars everywhere, you can borrow capos and I now have Adele's Hello down well enough to get involved.
Instead however been on couch surfing and have had a few offers for tours in exchange for good conversation and in one case instructions on how to make nuclear weapons ;). I head out, with my newly modified hat, and take in the sights before heading to meet Oliver, my local tour guide and buddy for the evening.
It feels a bit like the suburbs of Reading on a hot day. Check out the wind trying to steal my hat again... Not this time weather God! No hatty offering for you today! *Smug Peta*
Oh yeah a bridge selfie! If this was a video you would also get to hear the call of "selfie!" from one of two rowers passing under the bridge at the time :) It made me giggle.
Some birds were diving in the river and swam like penguins although they didn't look anything like penguins. I have since found out that they are called "spotted shags". I'm gonna leave that without further comment.
This is the pretty cathedral with lots of steps. Once the sun goes down it gets a little chilly even in summer here so be prepped like me with a little cardie ;)
Views from the top of the steps:
It was on the steps that I met my couch surfing guide. Oliver is a German chap that came over on holiday and loved it so much he hasn't gone back to Germany since. He also had no intention of ever going back. We head off to a local pub and grab a blanket and puts it down on the grass in the garden. He chats to some of the people there, clearly this is one of those places where people get to know each other pretty quickly. Oliver knows a lot about New Zealand and, after discovering my lack of plan for the north island, helps me with suggestions of things to do.
"How fit are you?"
"Pretty fit!" I reply and smile in the knowledge I do yoga every day! *Smug mode*
"Good, there is an amazing 10hr hike which takes in a great Volcano! Let me just look up the name of the starting point you'll need to get to...."
"10hrs?? Ermmmm..... When I said fit...."
I interrupt Oliver as I'm not sure my 30mins of yoga a day is going to help me enough for a 10hr hike... I could prob do it but it sound like quite a mission..
"I'm more of a 5-6hr type of fit... Do you have anything in the 5-6hr fit category?"
The Germans have a way of looking at you and waiting, as if they don't quite know if you are joking. Oliver seems to rightly conclude I am not joking and then without much of a reaction adjusts his recommendations accordingly:
"Ok, that's easy...so just don't go up the Volcano! That will cut out 4 hours! It is really worth it though and here write down this place name..."
We then sit and talk about New Zealand and cider and somehow end up involved in a debate about altruism. I blooming love a good debate and I prefer to take the under-dogs side if possible and so I put forward my best case for altruistic acts and at around 10pm Oliver gives me a life back to my hostel and I feel great and like I've done some fun mental exercise :)
This will be my last evening and I'm glad I will be able to get some better non-mouldy sleep before I have to start my journey back up to Auckland tomorrow. I re-pack my luggage ready and put on a science podcast to fall asleep to....
... Ok so I might have actually watched Eastenders... Don't judge me! ;)