Our last stay before leaving the South Island was at Cable Bay, but we spent the day wandering Nelson on the way there. Nelson seems like a seriously cool little town with a relaxed vibe and lots of coffee shops.
The maker of the One Ring from the LOTR films, Jens Hansen is in Nelson, so we decided to stop by. It was a little anticlimactic. He is clearly a serious jeweler and wants to be taken seriously, so he hasn’t turned his shop into a tourist trap–which I completely respect. There is a display case with an assortment of high end jewelry from the films, but not much else to see. If you’re in the market for some jewelry, it looks like they make really nice stuff, but it’s definitely not a must see as a tourist. We were much more excited about the lovely trees and flowers just up the street on the Christ Church Cathedral grounds. As usual, Xander wanted to touch every flower, so we stopped to appreciate it all. This tree had really interesting wonky branches! It’s crazy that they grow like that. After our walk around town, we popped into a coffee shop called KUSH, where Kris got some seriously tasty coffee, and I got a good strong cup of tea to warm us up from the rain. They also have great snacks and tons of eclectic decor to check out. Xander mostly enjoyed this big comfy chair! Upon arrival at our campsite in Cable Bay, the menfolk went through their ritual. Xander held his end of the plug like a good helper until it was time to plug it in to the campervan. He’s Daddy’s little guy.They made sure to check out all of the new plants before coming back inside!Nelson will be fun to come back to one day when Xander is older, but for now, Cable Bay is more suited to our pace. It’s quiet, scenic, and rural, so we got to just go for walks and enjoy the outdoors.Can someone tell me what the organism is in the image below? It looks like a cherry. Our second day there, we did more of the same. How massive is this bull? That little fence didn’t look like it would do much to stop him.We wandered back along the bay at high tide, and were mesmerized by all the different blues and greens of the water. There is a hike that goes around the hill in the image below, but it was closed for lambing season. It looked like a gorgeous walk we missed out on, but we got to see lambs everywhere instead, which seemed like a fair trade. Cable Bay is so named because it was the end of the first telegraph cable that connected New Zealand to Australia. This connection made it possible for communication to reach Europe in 4 days as opposed to the months it took for letters to arrive. In this age of instant technology and video chat, it’s hard to imagine what it must have been like to wait that long to hear from loved ones. It looks pretty much exactly the same now as it did back in 1876.Perhaps my favorite part of our stop in Cable Bay was the bumble bees! They were visiting the flowers that were right outside the back window of the camper, so we sat and watched them buzzing around for hours. Bees are amazing. Once it was low tide again, we went for another walk to try to cross this muddy land and to see the tide pools. Once we got closer, we realized that crossing the mud wasn’t going to work in the footwear we had on, so we headed for the tide pools instead.Sometimes, Xander gets bored in the pack, so I dance in circles to make him laugh. Kris caught me in action. What is it about tidepools that turns grown ups into adventurous little kids again? It was fascinating to see them teeming with life.The gentle waves lapping against the shore as birds drifted effortlessly overhead left me feeling quite serene (as serene as a neurotic control freak ever gets!). There was such a sense of tranquility, as though this place was far away from everything on the news and all of the stresses of life at home. Here, we could slow down and live as though everything could wait four days to reach us.We spent four life changing weeks on the South Island, where we witnessed beauty that defies my abilities as a writer.
We were sad on the drive to the ferry in Picton, but excited for the adventures to come on the North Island. We just needed to cross the Cook Straight, and we would be in Wellington!
For an up to date list of our New Zealand Adventure posts, look here.