This morning we returned to the Botanic Reserve and hiked up to the centre of New Zealand. The map said 20 to 60 minutes, depending on your level of fitness. We opted for the steep path and made it up in 20. Guess that means we’re relatively fit, thought I have to admit it was a real stretch for the calf muscles and took some stabilizing of breathing in spots. You can get a great view from the top and continue on to other trails as well.

On the way back down we stopped at”The Kauri Tree” sign. We’re so used to seeing giant kauris it was odd seeing one planted in 1951. It seemed tiny by comparison. From there, we headed over to the market hoping to be able to snap some pics to share with you. Unfortunately the Sunday market is more like a boot sale, full of junk. So we continued our stroll and eventually returned to the motel for lunch.

Lunch consisted of last night’s leftovers, mixed together to form a sausage/carrot/celery salad sandwich with cheese and lettuce. Then we watched a bit of the Olympics and took the car to Rabbit Island (that’s the first hop). The island has a beach that’s 13 km long, and if you visit at low tide almost 1 km wide. Or at least that’s what it felt like when I finally went in for a dip. The wind was quite strong when we arrived and kites were flying high in the sky. When it died down a bit, we pulled out our frisbee (purchased in a dollar store and known as a flying disc here) and gave it a go.

NosyNeighbour kept laughing as I tried to throw into the wind, until we switched side, then I had a laugh. The clouds were starting to build, and since we’re not really beach people, we packed up around 4:00, with the goal of finding one of the breweries.

Bridget was having a hard time finding a signal, so we set off without her (the GPS) and decided to use the brown tourism signposts along the route and my memory of what the google map had shown. And we did find what I had remembered: the Motuere Pub.

It turns out that it’s New Zealand’s oldest pub, established in 1851. It reminded me a bit of the Carleton Tavern: motorcyclists had stopped, a family had popped in for an afternoon pint in their Sunday best, and locals were sipping pints on the patio. But the best part was that I had found NosyNeighbour another pub with real ale. On the wall was a craft brewery tour, listing all the local breweries, brew pubs and pubs selling local craft beer. We left our e-mail, but still wait for the map. Will post it later. So that was the second hop (as in a beer ingredient).

On the way back, we stopped at Haven Fish and Chips, but fush and chups to locals. It was interesting watching the assembly line. We had about a 15 minute wait for our food and picked a front row seat to watch the busy bees selecting, deep frying, assembling and calling out each order.

Tomorrow our plan is to rent bicycles and set off on the flat ground around Nelson. I suppose I could be convinced to climb a few hills if there’s a vineyard or brewery at the top. Will let you know tomorrow.

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