Sitting at the top end of the South Island, Nelson is an area certainly not to be missed. Within close proximity three national parks, golden sandy beaches, a number of prolific trout streams, interesting and unique museums and galleries, this small artisan community offers something for everyone.
Nelson is home to the world famous “World of Wearable Arts” and Classic Car Museum, 22 wine producers, a number of craft breweries and a large number of talented artists. The area, with its rich clay and fine climate, has attracted internationally recognized potters as well as weavers and artists. No visit to Nelson is complete without visiting some of the local galleries and studios.
With everything the town has to offer, we find the accommodation options to be limited and prefer to send our clients out in the country. One of our top recommendations in this area is Edenhouse, ideally located just under an hour from the airport and with easy access to the town of Nelson and all the area has to offer, in addition to being much closer to the National Parks.
Edenhouse is a lovely English style country home built by Peter and Bobbie Martin. Bobbie was a Kiwi, but after many years living abroad, she and Peter decided to return to New Zealand to take up permanent residence. The area of Nelson was once a favorite vacation spot of Bobbie’s and when beginning the search for the right property, she took one look at the spectacular views afforded by the property and rang Peter back in England that this is “the place.”
The property two guest accommodations in the main house, plus a two-bedroom cottage adjacent the main drive nestled in the gardens. Bobbie is an avid gardener and the house reaps the benefits with cascading bouquets of fresh flowers and a bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables harvested from the garden. The apples and fig trees were heavy with fruit as we enjoyed the fresh crisp days of autumn.
I spent the day in the Abel Tasman National Park with Rod Stuart, owner of Abel Tasman Charters. The drive from Edenhouse to Stephens Bay (where you board the cruise boat) is just 25 minutes. Rod operates two vessels during the busier months, but this particular charter can accommodate up to eight passengers and can be booked on a shared or private basis (the other boat up to 12). We were joined by a family from Auckland, a couple from New Jersey and a mother and daughter traveling from the states. It was a nice mix and certainly made for an enjoyable day sharing the experience together.
Our first stop was the iconic Split Apple Rock, a granite rock in the shape of an apple said to have been split in two when two gods of Maori legend were fighting over the ownership of a large boulder and in their struggles to settle the matter, the rock was struck and split in half.
Cruising along there is plenty of marine and bird life to see, including dolphins, the occasional penguin and fur seals sunning themselves amongst the rocks. You can swim, sea kayak, or just relax on board. Some of us opted to have a nice walk along the beach while Rod prepared a delicious lunch with local fresh ingredients, including avocado from his garden. The others paddled the sea kayaks around the bay to observe the seals swimming in the bay.
We concluded our day with a hike from the golden crescent beach of Te Pukatea Bay. The walking track leads up Pitt Head with panoramic views of this stunning scenery.
Edenhouse is also well located for any guests who want to fly fish for trout. The Motueka River is only few minutes away; it fishes very well and is a river that is friendlier to fishers relatively new to the sport. Several of the tributaries also fish well like the Wangapeka River. Fly-outs can also be easily arranged into the Karamea System in Kahurangi National Park.
Peter and Bobbie work with a handful of independent guides who are very professional. Mike fished a day with Steve Perry and conditions were ideal. The rivers were up a little, but running clear. At this time of the year, it is very unusual to find any other anglers on the water and there were a number of location options to consider. Most of the better outfitters Down Under can provide all needed gear (waders, rods, reels, flies, etc.) for our clients who might only be able to fit in a day of fishing here and there on their New Zealand itinerary.
Mike and Steve put a number of fish in the net up to six pounds, all sight fishing and it was one of Mike’s better days on the water in New Zealand. The Browns were up in the more shallow waters out of the current, and were easy to spot in the blue sky conditions. The fish were not looking up much, but readily took nymphs on long leaders.
By: Mike and Kristene Fitzgerald