Finally, a break from the washing to report on the fantastic Birthday weekend that Dan and the girls treated me to. We sailed on the Interislander to Picton on Friday and had a wonderful calm and sunny crossing. The beauty of the Marlborough Sounds never fails to impress. I have particularly fond memories of this area – having walked The Queen Charlotte Track twice and spent a couple of days there when Charlotte was only six week’s old with ‘Chicken’ Grandma and Grandad! The drive to Nelson is equally as beautiful; with plenty of twists and turns! Sophie fell asleep enroute so there wasn’t the chance to stop off at Havelock for some green mussels; not that I minded much!
We stayed in central Nelson, within walking distance of some great pubs and making it convenient to meet up with our wonderful friend Loose (aka ‘Aunty Lulu’ to the girls). Friday night we were quick to sample some local watering holes but were amazed to see how quiet everywhere was! It was a surprise that some bars bothered opening! It’s a whole different story in peak holiday season. Nelson’s main industry is tourism and retail.
We took it easy on Saturday and walked into the morning market – which is a wonderful hive of warmth, art and good food. One of our favourite purchases was a Speight’s beer can helicopter!
In the afternoon we spent a relaxing couple of hours on stunning Tahunanui Beach with Loose before parting ways for the rest of the ‘avo so we could tire the girls (we try really hard – but they have SO MUCH energy!) at the wave pool in Richmond.
Sunday 20th April and my Birthday! This year, was so special. The girls and Dan gave me a gorgeous morning of cuddles, pressies, stories and beautiful cards. We met up with Loose and went to Founders Heritage Park where Sophie and I had a blast on the ‘Jigger Ride’. Poor Charlotte was overwhelmed with wasps (or the potential of them – as there weren’t THAT many) and spent half the time hiding under a table in the Founder’s bar and brewery! Aunty Lulu came to the rescue and offered to take Charlotte back to the holiday house for some relief from her phobia and left the rest of us to enjoy the beauty of Founders and its early settler buildings and collections at leisure.
The afternoon was spent chilling out at our holiday house and drinking beers before a walk into town. Sophie fell asleep in the buggy (at close to 5pm!) and Charlotte had a paddy. Dan took Charlotte home and she fell asleep at 5.30pm! I texted Loose and we met up for some red wine whilst Sophie slumbered peacefully (I’m normally such a responsible mother!). Thankfully, Sophie didn’t sleep past an hour and both the girls were really mellow after their naps and fell asleep around 9ish. Loose bought me cake (10 out of 10 and a star sticker!) and the girls insisted on several rounds of candle lighting and lots of puffing (this continued at breakfast the day after my Birthday too!).
Monday was our highlight of the whole weekend. Sophie, in particular, had been extremely keen to go on a pony trek for the duration of our Nelson stay. Unfortunately all the stables were fully booked over the weekend: Sophie learned a valuable lesson of patience! On Monday morning we drove out to Stonehurst Farm for a twenty minute pony trek in the most beautiful setting. The girls were awesome! Charlotte was a little nervous, but very brave and managed a few smiles toward the end. Sophie couldn’t WAIT and amazed everyone at the stables with her swagger, style and confidence. She looked so at home in the saddle and held the reigns like a professional.
After such a lovely start to the day we were keen for some scrumptious lunch, but wanted to stop via Rabbit Island first. It is the most beautiful island – but unfortunately there were a few wasps so our visit was short-lived!
Moving on… we stopped at ‘The Honest Lawyer‘ a wonderful pub in a very English style. The interior holds the most wonderful collections of pots and pans, books, musical instruments and even the trunk on an oak tree holding up the bar! Complete with pool table, dart board and board games it has everything English – apart from the wit behind the bar (though the service was exceptional!). The food was delightful and the girls sat like ladies for over an hour eating nearly everything in sight! Wow! Pony trekking and fresh air must be the perfect blend to work up an appetite!
With our girls revved up and keen to let loose some stored energy from lunch we went to the wave pool again – which even had foam surf-boards (Dan and I thoroughly embarrassed ourselves on them! – which Sophie wasn’t best pleased about – she’s happy to be a thrill seeker; but a little anxious when she sees Mummy and Daddy taking risks!). After swimming we stopped by Tahunanui Beach for a play at the awesome playground and to do some sand-art on the never-ending beach before heading home.
I was exhausted after the day’s events and thought the girls would be too. Sophie fell asleep at a reasonable hour; but Charlotte sat up in her bedroom till 9pm ish (she manages a 14-hour day effortlessly!) drawing and writing. I was happy to curl up with my book of the moment and give Dan a pass out for the night; so he and Loose found an excellent little pub called ‘The Sprig and Fern Tavern‘ a short 400 yard walk from our holiday home.
Tuesday morning it was time to pack up and head back to Wellington. It was another dream day of sunshine and the girls were brilliant travellers. We stopped at Pelorus Bridge for a short walk and Havelock for a stroll (too many wasps!), before arriving in Picton with time for crazy golf, mini-train rides and model sail boat races.
Leaving the Marlborough Sounds we were treated to a few dolphins riding on the waves of the ferry; the perfect end to a wonderful break away.
Entering Wellington Harbour we were greeted to the most beautiful sunset and Sophie fell asleep in the car on the way home (at 5.30pm!). Thankfully, she slept most of the night – only waking at 3am to ask for her ‘Thomas’ pillow case – which I’d taken away with us and wouldn’t have dared return to Wellington without! One nappy change and a Thomas pillow case later she was back to sleep till 7am.