This will be a lesson for anyone inviting us to pop by for a visit with the van and park up on the drive, as we ended up staying nearly a week at Wouter & Kristel! We made sure to earn our stay by making pancakes and poached eggs for breakfast, baking bread and providing Thomas his irrestistable peanut sauce for the BBQ night.
During our week in Nelson, we checked out the city and the surroundings in our favourite way: while being active! So we went for some easy walks in the neighbourhood, checked out the climbing at Cable Bay (pretty non-existing, unless you call three 15s a crag), cycled from Brook Valley to the Maitai river and swimming hole and I provided baby-sitting services so that Kristel and Thomas could pop out for a quick paddleboard mission. Oh, and I did some stuff for work, of course.
When it came to the weekend, Thomas and I had both decided on doing our favourite thing, so Thomas made his way over to Paynes Ford, one of the biggest climbing areas in New Zealand, to find some new climbing buddies at the Hangdog climbing camp. I had managed to invite myself on a hike with the Nelson Tramping Club, which resulted in meeting some lovely new people, climbing two peaks in Kahurangi National Park (Mt Arthur, 1795m and South Twin Peak, 1796m) and nearly getting blown off the ridge on our way down on the last day. Pretty scary to endure gale force winds when you’re that high on a mountain ridge with a MASSIVE drop on either side of the track!
Once I was back safe and sound at sealevel, where there was only a little bit of wind as well as a heatwave (36 degrees!), I hitchhiked over the hill to Paynes Ford to be reunited with Thomas. Thomas had had a great time at Hangdog, meeting some nice people to climb with as well as an imaginary friend Harold (you would say it’s quite tricky to climb with an imaginary friend, but Thomas had no issues whatsoever 🙂 ). We also had two friends from Auckland visiting us who joined us at the campsite, and it was really nice to catch up with them over some climbing, swimming, dinner and beer.
On Monday morning it was back to business for the both of us, so I rode my bike into town to do some work in the library, while Thomas spent the whole day climbing. We met up for lunch and had a nice picnic in a park in the shade, as it was another day of 36 degrees.. Afterwards, we walked into town to meet up with a potential WWOOF host, discussed some of the details around the WWOOFing and decided to give it a go. We arranged to meet up with him at the end of the day, by which time he had picked up a French couple who would also do some WWOOFing at his place. We all went for a quick swim to cool off as it was still stinking hot. Afterwards, we jumped in the van to follow our WWOOF host up to his house in the hills, praying our van would make it up the 6km steep gravel road with multiple fords to cross. We were about to start our second WWOOF adventure!
PS. This is how we try to do our shopping in the van: no plastic! We use the bags Thomas made in Wellington for bread and loose veggies, fill up our own containers at bulk bin stores, where we also make our own peanut butter (go Bin Inn!) and we try to buy only fruit and veggies that are unpackaged. We don’t always succeed but Nelson turned out to be great for plastic-free shopping!