Making the weekend shine…with a bit of rain…or a short trip to Nelson (part 1)

A weekend away is always a good thing I believe. You have to stop the normal rushing around and take time to stop and relax and not worry about those weekend household chores. The ironing will still be there, but your mind will be less concerned about how large the pile has grown (until you get home from work on Monday that is). This weekend we popped over to Nelson, taking the short flight over the Cook Strait, and enjoying a couple of days in the Top of the South. Our last weekend visit was four years ago, though I had been a few times since on work trips.

The weather on Friday, however, was not playing holiday mode, and we left Wellington in the rain and arrived in Nelson to rain as well. We dodged the heavy showers with a visit to the Nelson Provincial Museum, Page and Blackmore Booksellers and lunch at Sweet As Cafe next to the museum. The museum is well worth a visit, with a good permanent section on the history of Nelson, and an upstairs area with changing exhibitions (currently a fun one about the moon).

Nelson Provincial Museum

After lunch, we headed to the apartment we were staying in, and settled down to an afternoon of tea and reading, keeping out of the rain. We stayed at Villa 10 Waterfront Apartments, with a stunning skyline view (see next post!) and artworks by the owner, such as the coffee table painted with fish and the cushions in the perfect little reading nook. I had brought a couple of books with me, but picked up a magazine and a delightful mini edition with the original illustrations of What Katy Did, which I last read as a child. All I could remember of the story was her falling off a swing, so will try to re-read it at some point.

I had booked dinner at Hopgood’s, in the city centre, and was not disappointed with the food, wine or service. We started with a chicken liver parfait, topped with pickled walnuts, pears and blackberries and served with melba toast which was quite delightful. I opted for the gurnard with a wonderful orange based sauce, while Karl went for the beef, and we added a potato and cabbage cake on the side. I really liked the option of 100ml glasses of wine, so we could have one with the first course and one with the second. We enjoyed a Viognier from Marlborough to start and I had a Californian chardonnay with my fish and Karl a pinot noir from Central Otago, finishing with an espresso as there was no room for dessert.

Chicken liver parfat

Saturday dawned, and the sun shone, and we headed out to the Nelson Market, to browse the stalls of local produce and crafts. There were lots of tempting things to try (and to buy) and in the end I bought an apricot mustard, and a jar of oyster mushroom tapenade from Cultivate Nelson.

We then drove up to Mapua, where we browsed several of the lovely little shops at Mapua Wharf, picking up some coffee from Rabbit Island Coffee as well as some of our favourite locally made Hogarth chocolate.

Mapua Wharf

As we did last time we were here, we had lunch at Jellyfish, where I opted for a light lunch of a salad with squid, as I had spotted a couple of places with ice-cream and wanted to still have some room for a treat. Below you can see lunch, Jellyfish, Karl waiting for lunch and our Saturday purchases.

From there we headed to Hamish’s for the aforementioned ice-cream. Karl had the sea-salt and caramel and I opted for the ginger nut ie a ginger ice-cream full of crunchy bits of ginger nut biscuits (American readers….cookies). They were both so good and just the thing on a sunny summer Saturday.

So that takes us up to midday on Saturday. Part 2 will coming on Monday. The featured image at the top of the post is of one of the nīkau trees outside the apartment.

You can find Thistles and Kiwis on Facebook, and also on Instagram@thistleandkiwis.  As for Twitter….am totally inactive these days.  If you want to get in touch, email me on


  1. The ice cream sounds wonderful.
    The ginger one sounds delicious
    I am a sucker for ice cream and will visit every one I see.
    Here in Yorkshire there are many farms that make their own ice cream.


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