NELson, New Zealand

Nelson was a wonderful surprise. We took the ferry from Wellington on the North Island, arrived in Picton and rented a car for the 1 1/2 drive to Nelson. We happened to make the drive right before sunset so were fortunate to enjoy the landscape and beautiful light as we drive through wineries, sheep farms and up and over some mountains. We had decided to spend a few nights in Nelson as a jumping off point to Abel Tasman National Park, however we quickly realized the town of Nelson itself is charming, and the surrounding area is worth a day or two of exploring on their own. The smallest national park in New Zealand, Abel Tasman did not disappoint. Crystal clear water and gentle hiking trails made for a nice day to spend getting some exercise outside. Be sure to stop off at Hop Federation - a smal brewery on the road back to Nelson and pickup a few pints to enjoy back in town. while the region is known for wine - mainly sauvingon blanc - the local hops scene has a lot to offer and is quickly growing.

Sleep ... We stayed at this adorable Airbnb. Cozy, charming and convenient. Nelson is a sleepy town so there didn't seem to be too many hotel options. 

Pack ... Hiking shoes & a wind breaker

{ eat }

Harry's - We stopped in here to have a drink while waiting for our table at another restaurant, but were too temped by the delicious looking Thai food to leave. Harry's did not disappoint. I would gladly travel back to Nelson just to indulge in some fantastic Thai food here!

Urban Eatery - We only stopped in here for a glass of wine, but this is definitely a fun, trendy spot and the food looked good as well.

Morrison Street Cafe - Great local spot for an authentic New Zealand brekkie. 

Mussel Inn - It is worth the (2 hour) drive to this scenic Gold Coast locals spot. Order the green mussels, a pint of beer and relax at the outdoor picnic tables. 

{ wander }

Abel Tasman National Park - Picturesque day trip from Nelson. You can take a boat a few miles up the coast and hike back, or rent kayaks to explore the coast by water. We were in the mood for some exercise so we opted to hike. We took the ferry from Kaiteriteri Beach up to Bark's Bay and then hiked 12 km back to Anchorage Beach. The trails were very mellow, but we found gorgeous views and enjoyed a few hours relaxing on Anchorage beach before the boat taxi arrived to take us back to our car. 

Mahana Winery - In a beautiful setting up high on a hill, we stopped at Mahana for a tasting and ended up leaving with a few bottles. Their restaurant looked lovely and would have been a great place to eat if we hadn't just had brunch!

Freehouse Brewery - A fun local's bar with lots of beer. So fun that we found ourselves returning a few nights.

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{ September 2015 }