Posted by & filed under Travel Country: New Zealand.


It was my birthday on Tuesday. I didn’t do much, as I was in Lake Tekapo for the first half of the day and traveling to Christchurch, the second part of the day. But I made up for it, a little bit, the following night because I went to a dance in Blenheim. I got talking to a woman, called Margaret, on the bus from Kaikoura to Christchurch, the Saturday before and she said she was going to a dance in Blenheim on Wednesday, the 23rd. I said, “Oh, I’m going to be staying in Blenheim on the 23rd. Do you mind if I join you at the dance?” She said “You’d be very welcome to and why don’t you come along for tea (dinner) at my house beforehand?” So I was delighted. We exchanged mobile numbers and I said I’d text her on Wednesday after I found my hostel.

I got a text from her, to say that herself and her partner, Alan, would be at the bus stop to pick me up and they had planned on taking me out for the day, if I had no other plans (which I didn’t). So she drove us around Blenheim and Picton for the day, and brought me back for tea. Then we went to the dance. So, for two hours, we were all doing the Foxtrot, the Cha Cha Cha and the Jive. I must tell you, that Margaret is 70 and Alan is a sprightly 77, but that didn’t stop them! They were on the floor for nearly every dance. So, there you go!

I only stopped in Blenheim for one night and I headed on to Nelson after that. Nelson is a great area for arts and crafts and wine growing. They have a very good arts and crafts market on a Saturday morning, in Montgomery Square, so I went to that. You have to be the “early bird to catch the worm”, as it’s only on from 8.30am till 1pm. But it’s well worth it. There is an abundance of arts and crafts stalls and food stalls there, to keep you going (and buying) all morning. At about 1.30pm, I headed over to the World of Wearable Art Museum, in Annesbrook, Nelson. It’s a small museum, with one half of it given over to classic cars. Artists and designers can enter the World of Wearable Art competition and the winners are shown in this museum. The clothes are made from all sorts of materials, like wood, plastic, feathers, wire, photo paper, song sheets etc. My favourite piece that was on show in the museum, is one called “Ms. February 2004” by Toy Murchie, from Golden Bay, New Zealand. It was in the “Illumination” section.

Everything in this section, is shown in ultraviolet light.The “Ms. February 2004” was a figure of a woman wearing a dress, designed from daisies and butterflies and holding an inside-out umbrella. The inspiration of the design was the wet and windy February weather. I thought it was good and very pretty. The following day, I’d booked to go on an art/winetasting tour, with Bay Tours, which turned out to be very good, even apart from the wines!  Our guide was very informative and I learned a lot about the corkage of wine, how you should taste it etc and of course, the wines themselves were lovely.

The first place we stopped off at, was a crafts stop, called Cruella De Vils Natural Fibre Boutique. There was 2 shops there, one with chocolates, arts and crafts goods, Prenzel Liqueurs and Oils, but the other shop had something special on that day. There was a “Quangle Wangle” Hat competition on. “Quangle Wangle” is the name of a children’s book in New Zealand by Edward Lear, about hats. So a woman came up with the idea of holding a hat competition and you could bid (and put some money), on whichever hat you thought was the best. Half of the money raised, was going to a cancer charity. It was such a cool idea, I thought. There were all sorts of hats: big ones, short ones, floppy ones, tall ones, all made out of wool. We didn’t have enough time to bid on a hat and we were also missing the “Mad Hatter’s Teaparty” afterwards! We had some winetasting to do!

We went to 4 different wineries: the Waimea Wine Estate, where we had a delicious lunch and tasted a lot of wines, the Seifreid Estate, the Kahurangi Estate and the last one was the Stafford Lane Estate, which also grows olive and feijoa trees. It was my first time tasting feijoa. Along with the wines, they provided us with some bread, 2 types of oil to dip them in, dukkah (which is ground hazelnuts and spices), olives and feijoa chutney. I wasn’t the most sober person going back to the hostel! It would have been a crying shame if I had been actually!

On my last day in Nelson, I did a bonecarving workshop. This German guy, Stefan, has been teaching and working with cow bone for a long time in New Zealand and gives these workshops. He gives you examples of previous designs to work from, or you can come up with a design yourself and work from there. I wanted to work with the design of the Koru, which is like an unfurling spiral, it means new beginnings and permanent growth, in the Maori culture. A bit unusual and no one else had done this shape of the Koru before. We drew the design on paper and after 4 hours, we all ended up with our handmade pieces.They are polished at the end and put on a flax necklace. I was very happy with my piece. But what I really liked, was the Maori belief, that when you wear it, it leaves an imprint of your spirit/energy on it and when the time is right, you’re supposed to pass it on to someone else. This way, you are remembered and hopefully, never