The last (and only other) time I was in New Zealand was as part of a round the world sailing jolly; having had a hand in the organisation I was fortunate enough to be able to take my pick of the legs and chose a 7 day jaunt across the Tasman Sea from Hobart to Nelson and then on to Wellington. On that occasion I met up with Bernard Redshaw, a Kiwi who had worked with me in Blandford for several years, and so we couldn’t pass through Nelson this time without again touching base with Bernard who now lives in the town.
Nelson is a gem of a place tucked in at the end of Tasman Bay with a wonderful mountain backdrop and a lovely benign climate. Having arrived on Saturday morning we spent an hour or so before lunch wandering around the weekly market which had a nice feel about it with genuinely local produce and nice knick-knacks – none of the mass produced tat that many ‘local’ markets in the UK seem to be full of these days.
The afternoon was spent wandering around the Museum of Wearable Art. Now, those who know me could with some justification leap to the conclusion that a display of clothing made from materials such as wire mesh, pencils and cable ties might not necessarily be my thing – but on this occasion they’d be wrong. It was simply fantastic, really well presented and well worth a visit if you’re in Nelson or want to spend a few minutes looking at the website. As a bonus the Museum also houses a collection of about 120 classic cars, most of which are in concours condition and another hour or so was spent wandering happily down memory lane drooling over the exhibits.
Yesterday (Sunday) Bernard kindly drove us out to Lake Rotoiti which is about 50 miles to the south east of Nelson and a really beautiful spot. We called in briefly at the ‘bach’ (country retreat) of one of Bernard’s friends, Pete, who very kindly gave us coffee before we popped down to look at his collection of ‘classic’ boats – as lifestyles go I’d say that the New Zealanders have got it just about right!