Monday, 14 April 2008

Tuesday 18th March

Cable Bay
A lie in today but felt pretty good apart from my knee. There was no chance I could go riding in the fabled hills that flank the city (which is really just a little town by UK standards) and so after overhearing a conversation between two locals I was in the Kopter and heading to Cable Bay, a local beach for local people - in other words the ubiquitous backpackers hadn't had it identified for them by Lonely Planet, thank goodness. The bay was gorgeous, I hobbled up and down the sandy beach and then went f or a swim (more of a float), I virtually had the place to myself save for a couple of families who were splashing about and generally going what nuclear families should but very rarely do; have fun, together. It was idyllic. All this sea air had created a hunger and so I cruised into a pie show which was closing and so I got two gourmet pies for one, a steak pie and a delicious sweet potato and nut affair.

Farewell Spit
The Kopter had decided to take me for an amble along the Mai Tia (I thought this was a cocktail?) river as it winds around the back of the city, it really is beautiful along this secluded and literally back-water stretch. I made a mental note to myself that there's a pretty little campsite with a good play area and golf course that flanks the edge of the river should I ever have kids and take up golf (at the moment I think kids are more likely than golf, although given my knee maybe this isn't true anymore!). Inbetween Nelson city centre and the Mai Tai river is Botanical Hill which overlooks the city, it's harbour and then much further out west to Farewell Spit. At the foot of the hill is a park which is the site where the first every rugby match was played in New Zealand, quite something. In full-on Kaiser Sose hobble-mode I made my way up the switchbacked hill and to the top which also happens to be the geographical centre of New Zealand. The view from up here at sunset was soul-filling. As I've been fortunate enough to do on a several occasions already this trip I just had to sit and marvel in appreciation for a good hour and a half as the sun set behind the mountains that make up the Abel Tasman National Park and Farewell Spit - a long thin peninsular that tapers off into the sea dividing the two islands. The sea and land basked in a milky white light that I don't recall ever seeing before. There was no dividing line between sea, land, and sky. The camera took a hammering.

Hungry again and so clattered into more grub before retiring for an early one.

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