Monday, 5 September 2011

In and Around Nelson

A very nice six-hour bus ride brought us from Greymouth up the west coast and across the north to Nelson, a city of about 44,000 people on the Tasman Bay at the top of the south island.  We stayed for several nights at Accents on the Park, a backpackers' hostel which feels more like an old hotel and is well located close to the city centre.  Royce, one of the owners, is charming and enthusiastic, and he and his staff helped us significantly with our exploration of the local parks, museums, and natural attractions.

Accents on the Park (backpackers' hostel) in Nelson
The cathedral in Nelson is named Christ Church Cathedral, though it is not as spectacular as the destroyed cathedral in Christchurch itself.  The architectural style is a rather strange combination of Neo-Gothic and Art Deco - apparently the local population couldn't decide on which they preferred.  We thought it was enhanced by the large daffodil that appeared on the cathedral steps for Daffodil Day, a fundraising day for the New Zealand cancer society.

The first full day in Nelson we traveled to Founders Heritage Park, where many of the old Nelson buildings from a century ago have been moved to create a museum village.  The park includes several working craft shops and businesses, including the Founders Organic Brewery where Paul got a six-beer tasting sample and met the 5th generation brewmaster, John Duncan.  The park also has a maritime museum with one of the largest collections of "ships in a bottle" in the world.

Just a few of the many "ships in a bottle" at the Founders Park maritime museum

Paul being served by John Duncan, Founders Organic Brewery brewmaster
Lagers and ales, ales and lagers...
Good to the last glass...
The second day we visited the lively farmers' market, the Nelson Provincial Museum, the Suter Art Gallery and the neighboring Queens' Gardens.  The city has a strong arts community, making it an enjoyable city to visit.
Curry from the Hare Krishna booth at the Farmers Market - $5 per plate, $2 for a refill (Paul took advantage of this)
Nelson tea towels
The third day we took a bus to the suburb of Annesbrook to visit the WOW Museum - the World Of Wearable art and Classic Cars Museum.  It's an unusual combination, but it works.  The wearable art fashion show started in Nelson in 1987, and the annual show, which attracts professional and amateur designers from all over the world, has been moved to Wellington and runs for 10 days.  The wearable art museum itself is small but fascinating, with examples of standout entries in past shows.  Many seem surreal in combining abstract art with the human form as clothing.  Photos are not allowed in the Wearable Art section, so we only have a photo of the outside banner, which shows a relatively ordinary example.  See the World of Wearable Art web site for some additional information, photos and videos if you're interested.

Wish we could rent one of these for a few days...

1 comment:

  1. We loved Nelson... Paul seems to find the beer tastings wherever he goes! Bernie is wanting to buy a growler of Lazy Monk so maybe when you get back?