Nelson, Marlborough, New Zealand

After a full on day at work trying to organise things so that my colleagues weren’t too swamped when they returned, I headed to the airport to take my last flight of 2012. This time to a new airport in
New Zealand: Nelson. This year I’ve taken 24 flights in one year, that has to be a record; its been a pretty busy year for me.

Nelson isn’t somewhere that you automatically think of when you think of New Years Eve, but after a crazy few months of planning the New Zealand trip with my sister it was our best bet to fit in a lot of awesome places around my annual leave, dad being here and needing to be in Auckland for Christmas.

The main park which cuts through part of Nelson to get to the main high street

Nelson town centre: very much reminds me of a wee English town, or somewhere similar to home.

My flight arrived into Nelson after 6pm. Nelson has to be the smallest airport I’ve been into. It probably beats Blackpool airport as the smallest so far. It literally has 3 check in desks and a room no bigger than the ground floor of a small department store. It had a wee little cafe and a TV, with no signs anywhere stating what flights were arriving or departing.

Nelson Airport

I took a shuttle bus into town to the hostel we booked; we booked late and the only place with available rooms was Customhouse backpackers. It seemed ok. It wasn’t. We were shoved in a small room with 8 bunk beds, two of which were taken over by people that seemed like they had been living in them for 5 months straight – crazy messy.

We got changed and ready to go out. I hadn’t had much time for a lunch earlier, so we went for a wander and ended up in the Lonestar for a big feed.

A bread and dips starter was literally a whole loaf of bread 

Lonestar is a bit of a kiwi icon (I think), the first place first opened in Christchurch on Manchester Street, back in 1988. This building was sadly destroyed in the September 2010 earthquake. However, it is being rebuilt on the same site.

We were going to go for  a walk up the hill to see the centre of New Zealand, but it was getting dark and we had no torches or anything.

Nelson on New Years reminded me of some kind of event in Coleraine (my hometown). Loads of unbderage drinkers and yobs hanging out. We had a wander, bought some cheesy glow sticks and listened to the music being played for about 30 minutes.

Later in the evening, we had a walk down to the bottom of the town, and met a bunch of Christians doing evangalism, so we hung out with them until after it turned midnight. There was a bit of a fireworks show, but nothing too fancy. We later went to a little coffee shop on the high street to have tea and brownies. Not as hyped up of a New Year as last year in London. Still hard to believe that its been 1 year since I was just about to leave the UK. The time has flown by.

Group of Christians on a missions trip we met


My sister at 7am after about 4 hours sleep

We got back to the hostel and in bed by 2am, but I had the worst night sleep ever. My first words on getting into bed was “I bet this place is crawling with bed bugs” I am glad I had my sleeping bag liner I bought from Kathmandu. It was about $30 and helps when you are unsure of how clean the sheets somewhere may be.

This was apparently a mattress


Sleep was very poor as the mattress (if you could call it that) was about 2″ thick, added to the fact that half of the people in the dorm were coming in at 4am.

We got up around 6am, to get ready and off out to catch the bus to Kaiteriteri (on the edge of Abel Tasman NP). A lot of the people on the bus were all there prepared for a big hike through the park, and there I was with a little mini suitcase. It seemed like a great idea when I left Christchurch.

Part two of New Year will be on another post.

Happy New Year and thanks for continuing to read my blog.

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