Since we had wiggle room in our timing, we could do a bit of stopping along the way. New Zealand has lots of areas where people are encouraged to pull off and hang out for a bit. They are marked by signs that show trees and picnic tables. We had been seeing them and wishing we could and now we had the time to check them out. We took our chance at one that was in a nice area. We didn't see much at first, but then Paul spotted a hidden path down to a river. He was making a little video in the shot above.
We also found a cute town with a packed thrift store. Once again, I found a few things I would have liked to take home, but left them behind for the sake of traveling light.
There was an entire room of empty bottles. I spent a while gazing upon the wall. I do love the beauty of the different shapes, sizes and colors of glass bottles. I love it so much that I get a little tinge of maybe-I-should-save-this whenever I recycle glass bottles at home. Thankfully, my desire for minimizing clutter usually overpowers the desire to hoard glass bottles.
There was also an awesome ceramic coffee and tea canister set. I think these were around $5/each. I hope somebody takes them home and feels like they got a super deal.
More views from random picnic spots/overlooks.
The views on our drive were just so dang pretty!
Sometimes Paul would see me gawk at something as we drove past. This time I didn't even have to say anything. When he saw me see these sheep hanging out underneath the perfect tree, he just pulled over and said, "Go get your shot!"
Here he is patiently waiting for me to get back in. Isn't our little Starlet the cutest!
I only got back in for a little bit, though, because that road was a little slice of Trinity heaven. There were people selling what they grow/make right from their houses. Some of them had giant, obvious signs while others had hard to read cardboard signs.
It was so great to be allowed access to people's property and to take away a little bit of what was created right there. I really enjoy visiting gardens and farms in the US and even more so in other countries.
The grape juice sales were on-your-honor. There was a little shelter that you step into to get your juice and leave your cash behind. This super potent pure grape juice cost me just $5 NZD, somewhere just over $4 USD.
A little bit farther down the road and we hit the motherload! I was actually a bit sad that the local fruit was looking so good and so well priced, yet all of my preserving equipment was stuck in Minnesota! We scored strawberries, blueberries and lemons at one house. She had so much great stuff, but I was careful to only take what we could eat before flying back to the North Island.
Paul scored a strawberry ice cream cone that the person blended for him right there. She had a machine that mixed in her strawberries to the vanilla ice cream. Mmmm!
After all was said and done, we ended up in Nelson with this amazing array of all locally grown produce and nuts. The hazelnuts were from a farm that was just marked by a cardboard sign. So glad we spotted that one! Before the road of awesome stops, we had already picked up locally grown cherries, plums and kiwi berries from other markets. All together, it made for a flavorful February afternoon snack.
After our snack, we set out to find the Free House. The Free House is a pub with a huge selection of craft brews and local wines. I'll bet you can guess which one of us was dying to go there!
These two photos were taken by Paul since as soon as we got there and found out we would need to get dinner from elsewhere to eat there, I headed out. I came back with amazing Indian food that more than made up for the crappy parking lot breakfast.
The service was quite remarkable at the Free House. As I headed out to get food from a place they recommended, Paul was being treated to samples from their many taps.