03.07.2006 5 °C
So when I arrived in the tiny town of Blenheim I thought I'd have no problem finding a bed for the night, what with it being winter there aren't as many of us tourists around. But oh no, it seems that now is the perfect time for all those travellers that have to work to find jobs on the vineyards, working 10 hour days to prune and tie the vines for the winter.
So, I had to stay in a place called Swampy's. The name didn't fill me with hope and I wasn't disappointed... A bit of a s**t hole to say the least. Now I know that when the Lonely Planet says it has "atmosphere" or "character" it means it's old and dirty and is in the middle of nowhere.
I only stayed 2 nights there as it just wasn't for me. The people staying there were all really lovely though, but how they spend 10 hours outside in the cold working for peanuts I don't know. I feel very lucky that I saved enough so I don't have to work whilst I travel! Well, not yet anyway!
I did do the obligatory wine tour whilst there. An afternoon spent with George, my guide, going from vineyard to vineyard, sampling their wares!! It's nice spending an afternoon drinking wine and chatting, reminded me of work!!!
Next stop was Nelson and I really liked it there. The sunniest place in NZ apparently and a really lovely little town. Lots of nice cafes and restaurants.
I spent a week here doing not a lot to be truthful. I hung out with a couple who have moved there from the UK with their 2 year old daughter who was very cute. Steayed at the lovely YHA which was dead quiet so had the run of the place really.
I did a walk in the Abel Tasman National Park. A nice 5 hour trek along the coast. It would be nice to come back in the summer as the beaches look amazing. I also visited the WOW gallery, a place where the display the Wonder World Of Wearable Art costumes. Good, but not worth the $18 entry fee and I'm not just being tight here...
After I could chill no longer I booked my journey to Wellington.
Goodbye South Island of NZ