Continuing our journey westwards, we were destined for a lovely lunch stop at Havelock. Havelock is a small town with a few claims to fame, but most recently it’s green lipped mussels. We stopped by the Mussel Pot just in time for lunch. Matthias tucked into huge mussels in a delicious white wine cream sauce, while Zoe had fish and chips. We were stuffed and rolled out of the door to drive on.
Following our feast, we stopped at Pelorus Bridge for a little walk. We started with the Elvy waterfalls walk which runs along the Pelorus river. It was a beautiful forested walk although the two waterfalls were quite small. Our ambition got the better of us and we opted to return via the K Trig walk. Half an hour later still clambering uphill we were regretting our decision. The view from the top of the hill made it a little more worthwhile, but we were both keen to put our feet up and rest. We drove to Rai Valley and spent the night at the Alfred stream freedom camp which had great places for tents.
The next morning we got out of our tent and into a very heavy fog which took a long time to clear. We drove the windy mountain road over to Duncan Bay and the start of the ‘impossible’ Nydia track. Despite the impossibility of doing the track without a water taxi, we managed to have an awesome day walking some of the 27km track and even met other people walking the whole thing without a water taxi.
The track followed the lakeshore with beautiful views of the turquoise bays. Then it was uphill over the Nydia saddle and down into Nydia camp for lunch. Had we wanted to spend 3 days walking we could have camped here and done the remaining 7km to the end and back. Instead, we retraced our steps and made the 22km seem very easy. We returned to the campsite in the Rai valley and met another camper. He turned out to be a real life possum hunter, who lived in his van with his dog Jess. He was interesting to chat to and had some fairly strong views on the current predator poisoning programmes and the DoC use of land. The free hot coffee he gave us in the morning was pretty good too.
Our next day was a rest day from walking, so we limited ourselves to a short walk around the nice town of Nelson. There are a lot of shops, a cathedral and two market squares. Matthias was drawn to the free BBQ stand, where a man was giving away free sausages in order to be generous like God. He was friendly, but we didn’t quite agree that God was sending everyone to New Zealand for their salvation. To make the most of the sunshine we moved on to our council run campsite at Kina Reserve. It is right on the beach and has some great facilities for $5 per person per night. We had a lovely walk along the shell filled beach and relaxed.