Kaikora and Nelson

Pretty much as soon as we got to the South Island, we realized there was really only one way we wanted to travel:


Renting a car would give us the freedom we want to stick to our own schedule, go where our hearts desire, and explore off the beaten track. When we inquired about renting a car at a company in Picton and heard we could rent this yellow Subaru for less than nz$200 each, we knew it would be a good decision for us.


after another warm, cozy night in the Picton YHA (seriously the most comfy hostel beds ever in existence!)


And another breakfast in the charming kitchen and dining room,


We hit the road!


And we were hit by breath-taking views!


See the SNOW?!?!


See the OCEAN??!?!


Renting a car was definitely a good decision.

When we arrived in Kaikora, a small coastal town, we stopped at a fresh fish market, Cods and Crayfish.


Being a coastal town, Kaikora is famous for its seafood, but instead of paying a fortune at a restaurant, we decided to prepare our own!


We went for the “Kaikora Deep Sea Cod.”


Doesn’t get more local than that.


Next stop was our hostel (look at our car! We are working a name…) For just $25, check out this ocean-view room:


We spent the afternoon in Kaikora exploring to town and coastline.


We were soooo relaxed. And happy. And loving life.


We stopped at a cute little shop for a latte and free wi-fi (boo ya!) before going jewelry shopping.


The Paua shell can be found right on the beach here in Kaikora, and it makes the most beautiful jewelery, so I couldn’t leave town without some. I love circular designs, and I love dangling earrings, so these were perfect! I love how they showcase the beautiful colors and design of the shell. Plus, they are made with sterling silver and on sale for nz$20! I love a good bargain!


Hannah and I both have just one second piercing, so we get “friendship earrings” – a set of small earrings that we split between the two of us! These little Paua earrings were just nz$3.


I’m so excited! I never want to take them off!

Time to prep dinner! We decided to make Classic Kiwi Hostelmade Fish and Chips:


“Chips” were roasted kumara (sweet potato) lightly oiled and sprinkled with S&P. Baked for about 45 minutes, tossing occasionally.


“Fish” was local, fresh cod seasoned with a little oil, S&P, ground ginger, and lemon. Baked for 12 minutes.


It was awesome. So much better than the greasy take-away.


The cod was so tender and light, plus kumara has so much flavor. It was perfect in every way!

Though Kiakora is known for its whale-watching, tours are really expensive, so Hannah and I decided to pass. We couldn’t leave without seeing some marine life, so we head out on the Peninsula Walkway to see the seal colonies!


They were so cute and fat! But it was a little bit scary, because apparently they can bite and move faster than expected! We kept our distance of course.


But of course, it wasn’t all about the natural wildlife.


The walkway was along the cliffy coast of Kaikora’s Peninsula.


Everywhere we turned there were incredible views through the brisk, autumn, ocean breeze.

After our hike, we didn’t waste any time to get back on the road. We were headed for Nelson! The drive was very windy, very beautiful, and very remote.


Check out our picnic spot:


We stopped at Subway on the way out of Kaikora for lunch.


I admit, I’m a bit obsessed.


A whole foot long veggie delight (cheddar, lettuce, tomato, pickles, jalepenos, olives, peppers, carrots, and cucumbers) on toast honey oat bread for less than nz$8!!!! The perfect road trippin’ lunch for two.


Pretty soon we had reached the city limits! Our first day in Nelson definitely put me in my place. All of my tedious planning, I mean, pre-organized fun blew up promptly in my pretty little face upon arrival.

Problem #1 – No parking for lil yellow. We will have to do some strategic stationing! For now, the car park (Kiwi-speak for parking lot) behind the hostel is free from 6pm-8am.

Problem #2 – Had to cancel our bone carving workshop since the artisan is out of town for Easter. Big bummer, we were so looking forward towards carving our own bone necklace!

Problem #3 – The brewery we had planned for dinner and a beer sampler was closed when we arrived.


Luckily, they still let us have a beer on the deck while they closed up!


They are NZ’s first organic brewery, and Hannah and I both adored our beers.


I got the “Fairy Lady” and Hannah got the “Red Hed.”


Mine was pleasantly fruity and Hannah’s was understatedly robust. We might even go back!  This led to some unexpected fun because the people at the brewery recommended a place near by for dinner, and it ended up blowing us away!

The place was particularly unique because they brew their own beers and ciders, and they have a partnership with the wholesome take-away place next door so you can munch on their food in the bar.


I got a falafel burger for nz$8 that was so full of flavor I couldn’t stop smiling and shoveling it into my face.


We had a great time chilling on their deck, watching the locals come get their Wednesday night dinner takeaways.


We also got a hot brownie with chocolate sauce, because we are on vacation,

and it only cost us nz$2 each to split it 😉

Problem #4 – The Japanese Lantern Park I had scoped out as a fun night activity was not where my map said it would be. When we did find it, I discovered that though the park is open 24 hours, the lanterns were not lit up! It looked very pretty, so we may go back tomorrow, too.

Problem #5 – We are so tired from our travels that it is 8pm and I am going to sleep!

However, our second day in Nelson went trouble-free! We let ourselves sleep in until 8:00 to catch up on some much-needed rest. Then, after breakfast in the hostel, we made our way our on a self-guided gallery tour! Nelson is known for all its great artists, photographers, sculptors, jewelry-makers, and ceramists.


The first stop on our tour was a bead gallery, full of the funkiest beads I had ever seen!


Next was Fibre Spectrum, which showcased textile designs, fabric prints, and dyed yarn.


I loved all the shawls, blankets, sweaters, and yarn.


We peaked into Jens Hansen, the gold and silver smith who made the ring for the Lord of the Rings movies. Magical!


Nextdoor was Flamedaisy Glassblowers.


Their pieces were so colorful and had such interesting shapes. The tumblers were so fun!


South Street gallery was probably my favorite because it was full of gorgeous pottery!


I’ve always loved ceramics. Probably because it is very function art!


And cause I love food. There were also these neat incense stands:

(to be continued…)

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1 Comment

Filed under Food, Life, New Zealand

One response to “Kaikora and Nelson

  1. Pingback: Marlborough Wineries (Part II) | Namaste Everyday

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