We had a long journey to make it all the way down to Queenstown before our flight to Sydney on the 17th. The first early start had us on the 7.15am bus from Motueka back to Nelson for a night before starting the really long bus journey. Luckily for us the weather had been fairly good for our day at Abel Tasman. It was definitely changing for the worse after that. Once we reached Nelson, it rained solidly all day long.
Arriving in Nelson at 8am, we stowed our rucksacks at the youth hostel and went in search of tea and pastries for breakfast while trying to stay as dry as possible. Most towns in New Zealand have a lot of covered walkways which is a godsend in this kind of weather, but unfortunately there are always sections that are exposed to the rain. It’s a large town and has plenty of long sandy beaches to explore. On the way to Motueka we had briefly seen Nelson in the sunshine, but with the current weather we were confined to the hostel lounge for a few hours to stay dry while we waited to check in. Surprisingly tired despite getting to sleep early the night before, we spent the afternoon napping or charging devices in preparation for the coach journey the next day.
One of the irritating things in a new place is wandering around in either the dark or rain in search of food and not finding anywhere suitable. We seem to be developing a talent for choosing to walk in the wrong direction, as I can only assume that most of the towns must have more restaurants in them than we were finding. We finally found an Italian restaurant in Nelson that had a good number of customers and tried our luck there. This time we’d picked a restaurant where the chef had a bird food fetish. We had both a starter and main drenched in seeds and couldn’t face ordering a dessert for fear of more of the same. The waitress, who was obviously new to the job, would agree to bring us water, then disappear off until we had to ask someone that looked more competent to oblige. Twenty minutes later she’d pass by again, observe the big bottle of water on the table, and ask if we wanted water.
In hindsight, skipping dessert probably saved us a lot of hassle. We arrived back to the hostel just around the reception closing time to find a guy tapping in access codes for the main door unsuccessfully. After we tried several times with the slip of paper we’d been given, it was evident that there was a problem with the lock. Luckily the guy at the door was waiting to pick up the receptionist so she was still there to let us in. We left them figuring out what to do, thankful we hadn’t finished out the day banging on a locked door until late in the night.