Friday, June 20, 2014

Nelson to Maruia Springs: Thursday, June 19, 2014

This morning we stopped by the bank, before going to a place that makes “Pic’s peanut butter”.  It was extremely interesting to watch the process. From the time the raw peanuts enter the roaster it is no longer than 30 minutes until the peanuts are turned into peanut butter sealed in a jar.  The process is amazing.  It is pure peanut butter with NO additives.  It has such a rich flavor.

Having Coffee at the Warf

Our Café/Coffee Shop

A view of the harbour

Is it real or is it not

By now it is time for another coffee so we drove to the near-by community to a nice coffee shop where we had what they call a “flat black”. I don’t think I have explained coffee to you since we arrived ‘down under’. You have lots of choices, but we order what is called a “flat black”. This is basically 1 shot of expresso coffee with frothy milk added to fill the cup. You are able to get a double expresso if you like.  Ordering a simple cup of coffee simply does not happen – they make an expresso and then add whatever you desire, and this process takes time. During our time here, on several occasions it has taken so long for them to make a cup of coffee that I have jokingly asked Cal if “he has had to pick the coffee beans”!!  Having coffee here is an experience, not just ‘grabbing a cup of coffee’ and running.  Coffee is made the same way if you get it at a convenience store or at a coffee shop. Also the price is much different.  A cup is usually $4.50 to 5.00 regardless where you buy it.  Plus there are no refills - no bottomless cups.

After our coffees this morning we walked through several gift shops to browses - it was a lovely relaxing morning.  We returned back at the house in time to pack up before a light lunch. Right after lunch we were on our way.  Not many roads cross this part of New Zealand due to the mountains - We have driven through valleys, cross into other valleys, and keep going.  Some of the valleys look more prosperous than others.  We saw lots to tree farming- pine trees are grown for 25 years, cut, shipped to China, and more are planted.  We met many of logging trucks along the way. We have seen dairy, beef cattle, deer and more sheep. Late this afternoon we began seeing snow-capped mountains, well maybe I should say mountains with small snow caps and larger areas with a dusting of snow – winter is arriving.

Lord Ernest Rutherford, Nobel Prize Winner, Discoverer of the Atomic Nucleus, First to Split an Atom

Location of Rutherford's Birthplace - Nelson

Raised U-Pick Strawberries

Clear-Cut Lumbering - Replanted Immediately

Deer Farms

We are definitely in a remote part of New Zealand so we knew we had to be careful regarding accommodations for tonight.  Our friends in Nelson had told us about a Japanese Restaurant and Hot Springs Resort located between two villages along the road we would be traveling. It was about 4:30, getting dusk, and as we know it is dark soon after 5:00.  The roads are curvy so if you want to enjoy the scenery you don’t want to travel after dark. (we experienced driving after dark on the Pacific Coast Hwy – not enjoyable)  Sure enough, a couple of the motels along the road were closed for the winter but we were pleased to see the Maruia Springs Resort was open – well sorta open!!  The Japanese Restaurant was closed this week for updating, but the accommodations were available as well as the Mineral Thermal Springs/Hot Japanese Baths. They had a few food items in their snack bar area which was closing in a half hour, so we bought them for our dinner tonight, as there are no food establishments nearby (nothing is nearby), just surrounded by mountains. The next nearest town ahead on the road is an hour drive. 

We checked into our room, ate our hot snack, changed into swim wear, put on the kimono and flip flops they gave us to wear, and were on our way to the hot mineral springs.  There are only 4 of us in the hotel tonight. Wow! Were the mineral springs great! Each pool is a different temperature.

From the pools you can see two snow-capped mountains. It was too dark tonight to take photos plus it was hazy and a little misty.  Tomorrow morning we hope the weather conditions improve for photos.  This little spot in the road is wide enough for the road, and the buildings above the river.  The mountains come right down to the river on the other side.                

As I said this place is remote.  They are even off the utility grid!  They have a hydro generator that makes all the electricity they use, from water coming off the mountain.  There is no mobile phone service, no internet and no TV.  You come here to completely unplug!! (heal your mind & body in the mineral springs)

Tomorrow morning we plan to crawl into the hot springs again before we check out and head to Christchurch, our last destination before starting that loooong trip home!!! We are already dreading it!

No comments:

Post a Comment