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The last of the south

Last morning in Marahau so breakfast at the park cafe where the owner smiles and says they obviously haven't offended us yet. A tui feasts in the flowers outside our window, no shier than the fantail at the springs the day before, under the moon in the manuka. A quick stop at Kaiteriti, traffic and roadworks on the road to Motueka, and then again on the road to Nelson, plus a traffic jam for some public gathering on the beach, with a big French flag, so we drove straight on to make the ferry, over the Pelorus bridge, through Havelock and off up the scenic and twisty Queen Charlotte Drive round the bays and into Picton.

The ferry was late so we had time to grab a Havana roasted coffee from Le Cafe (well worth a visit for food some time); Expresso House has gone alas. A very smooth crossing, with gusty wind, shining sunset on the sea, gannets, shearwaters and a lone penguin. Takeaway from Monsoon Poon and a rather long diversion until we found a hostel for the night, so very large coffees at Expressaholics in the morning (and apologies to the friendly hiker from the hostel who stopped to say hello - I was too dopey to be as friendly as a I meant to be and I think I stared rather blankly over the corn fritters and eggs benedict).

A wander through town, a haul of Phryne Fisher novels at Dymmocks, a glance at the rubber and steel shock absorbers under Te Papa, a stroll across the bridge to Civic Square where ferns hang in the air and a scenic circuit of the peninsula. Then off to our meeting at Weta Workshops where we had a fascinating conversation about the tech they used for Jane and the Dragon, distracted only by the fascinating collection of pictures, photos, clippings, oscars, models and memorabilia along the walls of the boardroom. We were very professional and I restrained my fangirl squeee at meeting Richard Taylor of Weta too. A quick stop for supper at the ever delicious Chocolate Fish (halloumi, bacon pesto pasta, black forest milk shake and mango pasasionfruit smoothie) and we headed north.

We got as far as Bulls but had to turn back to Sanson for a room. And tomorrow it's more driving, all the way to Coromandel.

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full steam ahead
marypcb
Mary Branscombe
Simon & Mary

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