28 October 2014

Gallivanting in the gardens of Nelson and Founders Park

After our big day out in the Abel Tasman, we'd always planned to spend Monday exploring more of Nelson itself - and we timed it right as this was the one day where the weather was a bit iffy, with showers coming down at regular intervals till lunchtime.

Our lazy morning started out with a coffee at Morrison Street Café before wandering the streets for a few hours, picking up postcards, vitamin pills (I'd cleverly managed to leave all mine behind in Wellington) and visiting the information centre.

We then headed to Queens Gardens with some sushi for lunch and sat under the shelter of a large tree near the water wheel to escape the fairly regular downpours. The newish Huangshi Chinese garden there is definitely worth a look although the whole gardens are very restful.


We then headed out to the Miyazu Japanese gardens which were more on the outskirts of the town, and there was a little spring blossom still about to help me imagine what a spring in Japan might be like. Despite two separate trips to Japan - one to study at university for a month in Kyoto in summer and one to work in the skifields in Nagano-ken, I never did get the chance to see the famous sakura cherry blossom time of the year.

Right next door to the Miyazu gardens is Founders Heritage Park - a very well kept and laid out example of yesteryear - and not too pricey at $15 for the whole family. With it being school holidays, they'd put on a treasure hunt around the grounds and this kept the boys well entertained for a good hour here.

The most interesting parts of the park we found were the Bristol freighter aeroplane that you could climb into and explore as well as the very impressive ‘ships in bottle’s display in one of the buildings – apparently the biggest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere.


As you can see there are not many photos of the boys at Founders Park - that's because they were always about 100 metres ahead of us running for the next clue!

We also came upon a fairly large replica of the Titanic and this provided a really great learning opportunity for us to explain to the kids how this unsinkable monstrosity became one of the biggest sea tragedies of all time. The boys were really interested and asked questions about how the boat hit an iceberg and that there weren’t enough lifeboats available and how they launched the boats half empty. It was great to be able to go into Google and explore more than we could remember just from our own memories of what happened.

We ended our little exploration of Nelson with a trip to Penguino Icecream and Gelato Bar where we got to sample a range of unusual icecream flavours for $15.


Just as a little aside, one thing we made great use of during this trip was the Trip Advisor app (although you can use it from a PC too) to locate good cafes, icecream shops, takeaways, and local sights to see. We made sure that we also put reviews on of the places we experienced as well – that’s the only way an app like this will be useful to others in the future. And whilst it didn’t always hit the mark (the fish n chips were definitely NOT a highlight even though this particular shop had OK reviews online), for the most part it provided a really great way to source great coffee and good food - this really meant we could be reasonably sure that we were going to enjoy the experience!

Great finds via Trip Advisor:
Morrison St Café (Trip Advisor review) Morrison St Café (café website)
Penguino Icecream Bar (Trip Advisor) Penguino (website)
Stefano’s Pizza (Trip Advisor) Stefano's (restaurant website)

Next time: a day out of the box at Lake Rotoiti...

For other great family activities in and around the Nelson area, check out these Nelson posts.

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