Along the Away

travel, dream, create, inspire, appreciate

We drove into Nelson just as the sun was going down. We drove through the town to our accommodation close by Tahunanui Beach. It may be winter, but that’s not going to hamper the enjoyment of a sundown stroll along the sand.

Tahunanui Beach, Nelson, NZ

Tahunanui Beach, Nelson, NZ

Tahunanui Beach, Nelson, NZ

The sun set boldly into the horizon, the clouds changing their colour every few minutes.

Tahunanui Beach, Nelson, NZ

Tahunanui Beach, Nelson, NZ

As I was fiddling around with the mysterious settings on my camera I saw a group posing for photos in the fading light so I snapped a few of my own.

Tahunanui Beach, Nelson, NZ

Before arriving, I was mostly looking forward to visiting the arty, laid back town of Nelson just to have down time exploring the town’s galleries, cafés and pubs, but then the opportunity to go on a quad biking adventure at Happy Valley came up and I unexpectedly decided to give it a go! There are so many things to do in New Zealand and a lot come with a significant price tag so I have been picking and choosing as I go. The quad biking offered a chance to see some of the local bush though and I find it hard to turn down nature time so I signed up with some buddies from the tour.

It was so much fun! We went with Happy Valley Adventures who picked us up from the hotel and took us to the property. When we arrived we were fitted with our helmets and hopped on our quad bikes for a quick lesson how to use the gears, accelerate and brake.

Quad Biking, Happy Valley, Nelson

We rode around a circular practice track for awhile to build a bit of confidence which I was grateful for; I was stop-starting a bit at first and braking down the little hills haha! But soon felt like I had control and could pick up the pace.

Quad Biking, Happy Valley, Nelson

One of the girls in my group couldn’t quite get comfortable with it (she doesn’t even have her drivers license so I can understand) and the guys were great, they put no pressure on her at all and she was still able to come on the ride with us by riding on the back of the guide’s quad bike.

Quad Biking, Happy Valley, Nelson

We went on the Bay View Circuit track led by our guide Fletcher and accompanied by the charismatic Border Collie, Jenna, who very happily sat on the back of Fletcher’s bike the whole time.

Dog Quad Biking, Happy Valley, Nelson

Quad Biking, Happy Valley, Nelson

We winded up through the mountain on a well worn 14km track through native forest. There was never any particularly hairy bits, just twists and turns, ups and downs, over bridges and through big puddles. Over the two hours I picked up speed and had more thrills. I only ever went as high as 30kmh (hey it felt faster on a twisting dirt track!) but the guys from our group that went on the tougher track went as fast as 60kmh!

Quad Biking, Happy Valley, Nelson

Once we reached the top of the mountain track we had the option to go on the Skywire, which is a paid extra. It is basically the world’s longest flying fox. There is a hanging car with four racing car seats; we got securely strapped in and told to brace ourselves for the chill factor – I soon realised why! The first 800m is a freefall drop onto the flying fox where we apparently reach up to 100kmph! It was stomach dropping but a lot of fun! The wind chill sliced right through me in the drop but then we slowed as we flew 150m across the valley.

Skywire, Happy Valley, Nelson

The view was beautiful, it felt like my feet could touch the native forest densely packed below us.

Skywire, Happy Valley, Nelson

Quad Biking, Happy Valley, Nelson

From there we headed to a lookout where we stopped to drink Milo and refuel on biscuits. It was a nice opportunity to stretch the legs and appreciate the view.

2014 New Zealand (2564)

Quad Biking, Happy Valley, Nelson

Quad Biking, Happy Valley, Nelson

Back at the bottom we got about ten minutes for some crazy freestyle riding on a track laid out between some farmland. Somehow a sheep found his way on the track and took off running at the sight of me bearing down on him. Of course I slowed down, but did the silly bean get off the track? No, he kept running on the track taking peeks over his shoulder at me as he went. I tried pointing and waving at him to move sideways off the track which he eventually did, but not before we were all banked up behind him doing 5kmph hahaha!!

Quad Biking, Happy Valley, Nelson

After our ride we got driven back into town where our first priority was food. I did my usual online cafe researching and led the quad biking crew to The Morrison St Cafe, we sat at a big round table and had a wonderful hearty tummy-warming lunch.

After that we all split up and went our own ways for a wander around the town of Nelson. I checked out some of the art stores with a couple of the girls and the Christ Church Cathedral at the end of the main street.

Nelson, New Zealand

Then I struck off on a mission to visit a jeweller I had read about, Louise Douglas. I had seen photos of her work and loved the reflection of nature in her designs. I splurged on a treat to remember NZ by and bought a beautiful freshwater pearl ring designed like a seed pod… It is like the pic below but I got the gold tone pearl not a black one. I love it, wear it all the time, and remember NZ and Nelson every time I wear it.

Louise Douglas Ring

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Sydney based, coastal dwelling. When I'm not at work I'm somewhere outdoors, or in the yoga studio, or at my local cafe, or pottering at home.

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