North To Nelson…The Scenic Route

Our original plans called for us to make the one-hour flight from Queenstown in the south to Nelson in the north, but after some “what the hell are we thinking” deliberation, we decided to rent a car and drive. A little bit of research and some chatting with the locals in Q’town convinced us that we’d be fools to miss the chance to see more of the southern island. In the brief debate between convenience and getting the most out of our time in New Zealand, there wasn’t much a debate. As soon as we understood what was in store, we could hardly wait to hit the road.

Great to look at alongside the road. Even better to eat.

Great to look at alongside the road. Even better to eat.

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Homage to one of the great Kiwis of all time.

Homage to one of the great Kiwis of all time.

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The brilliant blue of Lake Pukaki, with Mt. Cook towering in the distance.

The brilliant blue of Lake Pukaki, with Mt. Cook towering in the distance.

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One stop shopping.

One stop shopping.

Lupins, a ubiquitous sight along the roads of New Zealand.

Lupins, a ubiquitous sight along the roads of New Zealand.

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They're not kidding.

They’re not kidding.

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One-lane bridges are a commonplace as you drive the southern island.

One-lane bridges are a commonplace as you drive the southern island.

I think American's could learn something here.

I think Americans could learn something here.

We stopped for the night in the small town of Hanmer Springs, and enjoyed a beautiful meal at a restaurant called No. 31. This is a starter of pork belly with coconut rice cake.

We stopped for the night in the small town of Hanmer Springs, and enjoyed a beautiful meal at a restaurant called No. 31. This is a starter of pork belly with coconut rice cake.

Another delicious starter of scallops over saffron risotto.

Another delicious starter of scallops over saffron risotto.

Our dinner wine, a terrific match for both our entrees. Sleek, full-bodied, elegant, balanced. And, not a wine to break the bank. Maybe it being local helped a bit.

Our dinner wine, a terrific match for both our entrees. Sleek, full-bodied, elegant, balanced. And, not a wine to break the bank. Maybe it being local helped a bit.

Merino lamb rump with slow cooked lamb croquette on French onion puree and potato gratin, with braised red cabbage and thyme jus. Killer!

Merino lamb rump with slow cooked lamb croquette on French onion puree and potato gratin, with braised red cabbage and thyme jus. Killer!

Pork fillet wrapped in streaky bacon on roast kumara puree, with grilled apple, kumara crisps and rosemary cream. Another ace from the kitchen.

Pork fillet wrapped in streaky bacon on roast kumara puree, with grilled apple, kumara crisps and rosemary cream. Another ace from the kitchen.

Our night cap back in the motel. Despite the fellow at Brennan being a knot head, Mr. Brennan makes good wines.

Our night cap back in the motel. Despite the fellow at Brennan being a knot head, Mr. Brennan makes good wines.

The drive the following day from Hanmer Springs was a pure delight. We could not have asked for more beautiful skies and scenery.

The drive the following day from Hanmer Springs was a pure delight. We could not have asked for more beautiful skies and scenery.

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The wide beaches and sky blue water of Tasman Bay told us that we had reached our destination. Despite not knowing what to expect, we were eager to enjoy our remaining time in New Zealand.

The wide beaches and sky blue water of Tasman Bay told us that we had reached our destination. Despite not knowing what to expect, we were eager to enjoy our remaining time in New Zealand.

Next, we spend our final days in NZ enjoying the treats of Nelson and the nearby Abel Tasman National Park.

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