The earthquake in Kaikoura in November meant a change of plans for our homeward journey. We were booked in for a fishing charter with Tomo who is the owner/operator of Kaikoura Fishing Tours, but the earthquake meant the boats couldn’t get out, so fishing was off for a while. Besides that the road was closed due to slips so we couldn’t get in anyway. Kaikoura is a great community, like so many others in New Zealand, everyone pulled together and by Christmas the road south of Kaikoura was open and Tomo was out on the sea again doing what he does so well. If you are down that way support the Kaikoura area by visiting this lovely seaside town and go out fishing with Tomo and his crew. Many varieties of fish and crayfish too. Yummy.. Go Tomo….
So Kaikoura was off our route for our journey north. Through the Lewis Pass and to Murchison it was. Lots of trucks as well as cars on the road, many trucks stayed in Murchison for some hours to fulfill their break requirements. Good NZMCA camp here for the motorhomers.
In Havelock, Marlborough, we stopped at The Mussel Pot. We always stop here when we pass through Havelock for a mussel platter, mussel soup or whichever mussel dish we fancy on the day. Delicious. Nice outdoor area too.
We have stopped in Mapua near Nelson before, but this time we had something different on the agenda. In the country is a great cafe theatre. We rang to check it out and asked was there room to park the motorhome, to be told we were welcome to stay the night there. Fantastic. The Playhouse Cafe is a fabulous place to go. Lovely country setting, nice meals, welcoming staff and great shows. On the night we were there David Upfold, a comedy hypnotist from Auckland was on stage. The show was fabulous, the comedy part very entertaining and the hypnosis part respectful, funny and well worth seeing. Other shows they have at The Playhouse Cafe include a variety show, a murder mystery, tribute shows. We will certainly be back. Well priced and a great range of shows to choose from. Pity we don’t live closer. We would be regular attendees.
The biking in the Mapua area is good too. You can bike from Richmond to Rabbit Island then catch the ferry across to Mapua for a coffee and cake in this nice little village. You can also bike from Mapua towards Motueka.
Two of our last nights in the South Island we stayed in Stoke, a suburb of Nelson, at The Honest Lawyer. This had been recommended to us by motorhoming friends. This is a restaurant with accommodation in a great location by the waterfront. There is a very nice parking area at the back for motorhomes, it looks out over the water and has a bike trail beside it. Good meals in the restaurant and a fabulous setting by the water for relaxing at the end of the day with a drink.
In to Nelson to the market in the weekend to stock up on fresh fruit and vegetables. A newly sealed parking area can be found near Countdown by the squash courts. Very convenient parking with a bike trail close by and a short walk into town.
This trip to the South Island ended with a night in Picton at the Crow Tavern. We always enjoy staying here in the motorhome. Very friendly owners and fellow travellers along with the locals. Great food, my favourite is the scallop and prawn dish – I have it every time we go there. Surprise, surprise!
A walk around Picton the next morning then on to the ferry. Our first time on the Kaitake. Very nice ferry. Trip was a bit rough. Very pleasant staff came around offering cups of ice to suck. Apparently it helps negate feelings of sea sickness. We were fine but many others were grateful for the concern of the young staff.
Great trip, looking forward to the next one when Kaikoura can once again be a part of our journey. Best wishes to all those there working hard to get their town great again after the earthquake. It’s a super little town.