My recent trip away was to see Devon up in Nelson. Although just over 2 weeks ago now, I’ve had a rather busy spell. I’d heard great things about heading up to Nelson, the drive is apparently very scenic and the place itself is rather pretty. Located at the top of the South Island, its about a 5 hour drive from Christchurch.
The first stop was Lake Rotoiti, where I’d stop the night at the house of some friends of Devon’s parents.
I encountered every type of weather imaginable on the drive up – glorious sunshine, gusting winds, snow, rain, sleet. You name it I drove through it. Taking State Highway 7 North and heading through the Lewis Pass, you get a real sense of just how crazy the scenery is here. You switch from tropical forests to baron landscape to mountains to farmland at the click of a finger. Mountain driving never really gets any less hair raising. You’re barrelling along at 70mph, on a single carriage way, thousands of feet up and with a HGV heading straight at you coming the other way.
The views are well worth the sweat, fear and (almost) tears. When I arrived at Lake Rotoiti, it was pitch black. The skies were crystal clear and the thousands of stars above were there to greet me. After pizza by the fire, I got some sleep and the next morning we headed down to the lake. It was just as picturesque as the pictures on Instagram lead me to believe.
After the short overnight stop, we drove on toward Nelson. Kaiteriteri beach was next on the list. It was very tropical with rich vegetation and bright blue water. Lunch was Fish & Chips by the sea and then onto Split Apple Rock. As the name suggests, there’s a rock that looks like a split apple out at sea. A really secluded beach that would never get very busy, it’s a great spot and well worth a visit.
The next stop on this flying road trip was Mapau. A cute little place with an interesting wharf with pretty views of Rabbit Island. After taking in the views and popping my head in a few shops, it was the end of what was a pretty busy day and a cold drink was on the agenda.
The weather was stunning and so warm, which after this winter has been very welcome. The views from their balcony were epic, looking down on Nelson and out to sea, very picturesque.
I had to depart early the next day as I started work at 3.30pm. People were quite surprised that I would do a 5 hour drive then head to a shift, but from the beginning I’d been adamant that my time in New Zealand was about embracing everything, everyone and seizing every opportunity. On the drive back I stopped for a quick lunch at Maruia Falls, located just off of State Highway 63. It’s the perfect spot for a picnic on a drive up North, with a good picnic area and toilets and very pretty waterfall.
You can’t really beat the sound of running water and a picnic!
I’d really like to return and head to the Abel Tasman National Park. If you’ve ever been, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!