Snapshot on Nelson – NZ South Island

In Queensland, you do not have the pleasure of going out for breakfast with a view of snow capped mountains peaking over the shopping centre roof. With beautiful days, I enjoyed this short break to the Tasman area, top of the South Island.

A short 1.5 hour flight from Auckland, the area has so much to offer and well worth the visit. Nelson sprawls across a huge area at the top of the Island, hugged closely by mountains and sea. From here you can easily access New Zealand’s rugged West Coast or the inviting Marlborough region.

My first night arriving, was a quick pickup at the airport, before being whisked off for dinner at Harbour Light Bistro. Overlooking the sea, this beautiful old home has been transformed into a restaurant on Wakefield Quay. Here you can sit near the enveloping picture framing windows and watch the harbour activity.

Staff were friendly and we were seated upstairs, not near the windows on this occasion, however you could still see the scenery framed beautifully through the expansive windows.

This homemade bread entree was a great way to start the meal, whilst nibbling away and catching up. I chose the incredibly soft, flavoursome beef fillet with roasted carrots as my main. For this weary traveller, the meal was a massive hit. Also pictured is the lamb rack, which I did consider, and Im told was most enjoyable. You need to follow a meal like this with a delectable dessert. Plus one for a special occasion, hence the choice of an enticing Creme Brûlée with turmeric and citrus salad.

Quite happy with the dessert choice. It was devine!

Be warned, food in New Zealand is an experience in itself. Fresh, with tastes most likely stronger than what you are used to, this omelette at Columbus Coffee, Richmond, provided an awesome kickstart to the day. Packed full of fresh produce, the colours lit up the table. This is also the venue providing the snow capped backdrop from earlier.

After brekky, it was off to check out the markets. Nelson city has markets which have operated for years. There’s a lot to choose from, even clothing made from possum fur.

How beautifully warm and snuggly this looked, now if I didnt come from Queensland…

When you’re on a short break, why cook? Well, on this particular trip, we were booked into one of Nelsons best restaurants, The Tides, located at the Trailways. For some this was a surprise, me, I was along for the ride, and to enjoy the look of surprise!

Bar staff were above and beyond, in fact I had a couple of wonderful conversations with the bar staff here, which was much appreciated.

Food, yes that was definitely good. Our set menu gave many choices, quite impressive given most venues with a set menu have only 2-3 mains. This one, 6 mains to choose from. Well done. I for one am tiring of the alternate drops and limited menus when you have a large group and loved this venue for many reasons, but this one was a definite plus.

Colourful bread selection started the meal, followed by mains and dessert. My choice for mains, was the salmon.

Fabulously soft, the salmon was one of the most flavoursome dishes I have enjoyed recently. Now for dessert! Again, an impressive four choices. Where are these menus when we have functions? Moving on, I chose the Salted Carmel Cheesecake. This would be the best cheesecake I have ever tasted. Soft, more akin to a mousse than a cheesecake, this was a delightful dessert to finish the meal.

Highly recommend a visit to The Tides if you are in Nelson. Their expansive restaurant caters for everything. Even impressed by the bathrooms with separate clean washrooms.

For this visit, I was lucky to be staying on a local farm. Relaxing scenery all round. Even the night sky was mesmerising, with a moon clearer and enticing, peeking through the cloud.Consider Nelson when travelling to NZ, this area has a lot to offer. There are many areas to choose from within the Tasman region, and the next blog, will cover Mapua. In the meantime, Ill leave you with another delectable meal from Columbus Coffee. Enjoy your visit to Nelson!

Zealong Tea – Gordonton, New Zealand

Imagine our surprise when we stumbled upon a tea farm as we were exploring the Waikaro region recently.   Now if you know me well, then you will definitely be well aware I drink three things, water, wine and green/herbal teas.  Only a couple of times a year would I try a juice, milkshake or smoothie.  Sorry coffee but I’m just not a fan.

With some spare time up our sleeves we stopped into this complex to take a look.  What wonderful, inviting staff we encountered at the retail building.   Here I was provided with an intriguing insight into this operation.   We also discovered this complex had only opened a couple of weeks previously.   What wonderful luck on our part!

This proud fellow is one of the carpark guards.  Someone has put a lot of work and thought into the sculptures which have been set in different areas, many depicting the story of tea.

A line of teapots and matching cups in front of the restaurant carpark was just fascinating.  Loved how one end had the dragons head, and the other end his tail.  

One piece of advice we were given by staff, was to visit the onsite restaurant where we would be able to trial their tea,and enjoy a bite to eat if we so desired.   Hubbys ears pricked up at the mention of food, plus having recently branched away from his normal caramel lattes into trialling chai tea, he was interested in stopping by.

Wow!  What an impressive place the Zealong Tea Estate Restauarnt is.  Comfortable, high class surroundings, with a fabulously relaxing view across the estate and dam.

Again I’m going to mention the staff here, service was of an extremely high standard, impeccable, yet still friendly, professional and very helpful.  Certainly nice to be in such fabulous surroundings, and made to feel at home.

After perusing the menu, our wonderful attendant had recommended we trial the high tea as there were so many things we wanted to try!  Surprisingly, Hubby agreed.   With our separate tea choices, we had been shown how to pour and brew our teas, in our  personal cups & strainers.  These partnered with  a very large teapot of hot water, which nested in a box upon its own burner, next to the table.  Each person received four cups of tea, quite generous in itself.

The food was delectable, tea was most enjoyable, and, to hear Hubby rate this as one of the highlights of our trip was fantastic.  I think the fact this was such an unexpected find, certainly had us come in with no expectations.   Next time we visit, we will join one of the informative tea tours.  

If you are a tea lover then you will love this place.  Even if you’re not, go give it a try, there’s a wine list and other beverages to choose from.  We did purchase a sample of the teas, which are enjoying sampling.   A shame this place isn’t closer for us, but I guess it means another visit to NZ!    We will be back…..