The Road from Havelock to Nelson

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25/01/08
Greetings all! Your humble narrator is back once again to regale you with another tale from the land down under. Today was another great day for me, as I managed to get all my biking done by just after 1pm! That was in spite of pedaling 75km, and having to climb up two biggish hills. I don’t know if I’m getting more in shape, or if it was the days off the bike or what, but I really felt good today. Perhaps it was also the good night of sleep that I had. Whatever the reason, I’m in a good mood today, and have already planned a full weekend of fun for myself here in Nelson. Yup, even though I’ve only been biking a day and a half, I’m spending 3 nights here, so that I get 2 full days. However, it is with good reason. Read on to hear more, and don’t forget to check out the map and pics for the day!

I went to bed around 10pm last night, after stuffing myself with a burger and some spicy wedges, followed by some great ice cream for desert. By 7am, I was up, and got my things ready for what I thought might be a long tough day. By 8am, I was on the road to Nelson, along the coast of the South Island. As it turns out, Nelson is a major tourist destination for all sorts of reasons. There is good tramping, great kayaking, biking, wineries, a market, and so on and so forth. I was actually lucky to find a bed. I had to call 4 different hostels the night before in order to find a vacancy, and now, the place is completely full for the next 2 nights, in spite of having 70 or more beds! I’m in a 6-bed room, and it’s only 22NZD. Gotta love the hostel life.

On the road, I was soon getting sick of logging trucks, they are huge, loud, and create a nice wind when the whizz by at top speed with only a couple feet between me and them. Stupid traffic. Luckily, there wasn’t that much traffic otherwise, and most of the drivers were courteous. I happily rode along with the sun at my back, and a mild head wind. Nothing too bad. I embarked on one of the long climbs and before I knew it, there was another cyclist next to me. Just a guy out training. However, he was chatty, and we had some pretty good conversation. He’d done some Ironmans, and knew some of the greats from New Zealand, including some top adventure racers, like Richard Ussher and Nathan Faavae. In fact, it turns out that he was Nathan’s roommate in the past!

So, after a bit more conversation, he told me that I should actually give Nathan a call, and that he’d probably love to hear from me. Imagine that! I might get to meet one of my adventure racing idols from New Zealand. Nathan now puts on his own races, and I’m hoping to get the chance to take part in one of them. That’ll be the main reason for my phone call, but hopefully he’ll be up for beer and a chat later on. Apparently he just lives down the road from Nelson, so it could be possible. Wouldn’t that be awesome? So, there’s one reason to spend an extra day in Nelson.

What are the other reasons? Well, I’ve already booked a full day of kayaking in Abel Tasman park, and they’re picking me up from my hostel on Sunday. Saturday there is a really great market here, and I’ve also booked a half day brewery and winery tour. Yup, I get to sample some of the local wines, and chug back some frothy yummy beers too! Not too bad eh? Apparently from here, you get to see some of the more boutique wineries rather than the big commercial, industrial wineries closer to Blenheim. That sounded pretty appealing to me, which is why I signed up. So there you have it. Saturday and Sunday are already full, which leaves me with Monday to get back on the road.

Another advantage of staying here is that I can head directly south. My other option was to bike further north to get closer to Abel Tasman, where I was going to hike and/or kayak. However, now that I can do that from here, it saves me probably a day or two of cycling anyway, which means I’m not really spending more time here, I’m just picking a more efficient way to see what I want 🙂

Umm… what else to say? Well, Nelson is a pretty nice town from what I can see. I’d compare it to something like Kelowna, only bigger, and with kiwis everywhere! On my ride today, I actually only stopped one time for a snack and a quick pee break. Normally I would have stopped for lunch, but there just wasn’t any pressing need. I didn’t feel like I needed to, so I just pressed on. It was nice to finish early, and be able to plan out a fun weekend. I took one other sort of stop, but it was actually to do a quick hike along the Pelorus River, to a suspension bridge. It only took about 10 minutes return, and rewarded me with a pretty sweet little view of the river and fun times jumping on a suspension bridge all by myself in the middle of the woods, without anyone to tell me not to! Hee hee.

Well, that’s all for now folks, I hope you all have a great weekend, and find something fun to do as well. I’ll raise a glass to each of you tomorrow on my wine tour. I’d say I’ll bring some back, but I’m pretty sure that they wouldn’t survive the bouncy journey in my little trailer, so the chances that I buy any wine are fairly slim, unless it’s to consume that night. Bu-bye for now!

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