An early start this morning, with the flight to Nelson leaving at 7:40am. This also meant that we shared the flight with the normal coterie of business travellers. Quite what they thought of our motley crew – clearly in holiday mode – is best left unrecorded.
On arrival in Nelson, a brisk walk – initially in the wrong direction thanks to Kem – brought us to Nelson Cycle Hire where we were “fitted” with our bikes, and provided with maps and briefing about the trail, before repacking our gear into the provided pannier packs, and setting off. Many thanks to the crew at NCH for their attention to detail and support.
The early start also meant that there was an urgent need for coffee and fuel, so the first stop was the Honest Lawyer café and restaurant at Monaco, a short 2 km from the airport. As a supporter of the Great Taste Trail the café is a regular stop-off for groups on the trail – although most have probably come from Nelson City, not just the 2 km from the airport! Still we were made welcome, and fortified by coffee and carbs, set off on the trail proper some 30 minutes later.
The ride around the estuary with many stops for photos was notable for great views and slow travel. A quick stop at Kem’s sister Shona’s place for a cold drink – and to check out the local ambulance service (run by Shona and her partner, Max – then onwards round the estuary to the Rabbit Island turnoff. A quick consultation before a left turn back to the main road and Siefried’s Vineyard for lunch under the trees.
After lunch a pleasant cycle around Rabbit Island, then onto the ferry to be dropped off directly at the Mapua Leisure Park – and our first exposure to the ‘clothing optional’ policy in practice. Not tempting.
A quick freshen up with a swim in the lagoon (no-one lost to sea on a vigorous outgoing tide) then off to Mapua Wharf for fish ‘n chips for five. Obviously a popular place (as seen in the video below), with many cafes and bars, a local boutique brewery, fish & chip shop and various craft outlets. To quote Paul: “Seismic”.
A couple of medicinal beers and back to the cabin for a of quiet night – until the snoring started. It is surprising the range of ‘tunes’ and variants in volume 5 tired old blokes can generate.
End of Day 1.