Cuisine - - CONTENTS -

Re­nee Lang takes off for the cen­tre of New Zealand

SO YOU NEED TO ES­CAPE some­where for a week­end. Ideally a place where sun­shine is al­most guar­an­teed. A great beach would also be good and some scenic moun­tains to pro­vide a con­trast. Where else but Nel­son? Given the Top of the South’s brand-new air­port deals with around 500 flights to and from the coun­try’s main cen­tres each week, it re­ally is as easy as hop­ping on a plane.


You prob­a­bly al­ready know that Nel­son is the orig­i­nal home of the in­ter­na­tion­ally ac­claimed phe­nom­e­non known as WOW (World of Wear­ableart). And although the event now takes place in Welling­ton each year, the WOW Mu­seum here in Nel­son – con­ve­niently lo­cated on the way from the air­port into town – hosts a won­der­ful col­lec­tion of award-win­ning en­tries. (Tip: should you have a petrol­head af­fi­cionado in tow, sim­ply aim him or her to­wards the clas­sic car col­lec­tion lo­cated next door where they’ll be happy for hours). / world­ofwear­ableart.com

If you ar­rive on a Satur­day, then a visit to the Nel­son Mar­ket in Mont­gomery Square is a must-do. Not only has it been go­ing for nearly 40 years, its other main claim to fame is that pretty well ev­ery­thing avail­able for sale is made, sourced or grown lo­cally. Chances are you might bump into Pic Pi­cot him­self pro­mot­ing his epony­mous peanut but­ter, but more about that later. / nel­son­mar­ket.co.nz

Af­ter brows­ing among all the stalls, it’ll be time for some light re­fresh­ment. For my money, I don’t think you can go far wrong with a cheese scone from Mont­gomery Square’s Yaza Cafe. Don’t let the dated, slightly hippy dé­cor fool you; in my opin­ion their scones are the best in town, thanks to the gen­er­ous amount of tasty cheese in­volved. / yaza­cafe.co.nz

Time to burn off some of those kilo­joules, so let me take you on a gen­tle hike up to the Cen­tre of New Zealand, at the top of Botan­i­cal Hill. It’s within walk­ing dis­tance of town and so named be­cause it was the cen­tral sur­vey point in the 1800s. Of more in­ter­est to most vis­i­tors, how­ever, is that the hill is lo­cated in the Re­serve where the first ever rugby game was played in New Zealand.

Once you’ve ad­mired the amaz­ing view from the top of the hill, me­an­der down and head back to­wards town via the river­side walk to Hardy Street, home to sev­eral re­ally good cafes and where surely it must be time for a spot of late lunch. Share a plate or three at Ar­den Bar & Kitchen where their de­li­cious of­fer­ings change ac­cord­ing to the sea­son – I can highly rec­om­mend the roasted broc­coli with sesame, miso and pick­led chilli. / ar­den.nz

Or wan­der down a bit fur­ther to Hardy St Eatery whose kedgeree is the best I’ve tried out­side of Welling­ton’s Nikau Cafe. / hardysteatery.co.nz

For those of a cere­bral bent, Vol­ume, New Zealand’s best in­de­pen­dent book­shop (voted as such in 2018), is just around the cor­ner. But be warned – it’s all too easy to while away an alarm­ing amount of time in this small but per­fectly formed book em­po­rium. / vol­ume.nz

Wher­ever you hap­pen to be in Nel­son, you’re never very far from the beach... stroll along what is af­fec­tion­ately known as the Back Beach... a mag­net for lo­cal wind surfers...

Wher­ever you hap­pen to be in Nel­son, you’re never very far from the beach. So, should an­other gen­tle dose of ex­er­cise and some brac­ing sea air be re­quired, then a stroll along what is af­fec­tion­ately known as the Back Beach, just a few minutes away by car, could be in order. It’s a mag­net for lo­cal wind surfers, whose amaz­ing an­tics are al­ways worth watch­ing and at low tide you can walk for miles. If self-cater­ing is your thing on this get­away week­end, be sure to stop at Guy­tons on the way back from the beach to choose some fresh fish from an im­pres­sively large range – Nel­son is not the largest fish­ing port in the south­ern hemi­sphere for noth­ing. / guy­tons.co.nz

If, on your trav­els, you see a sleek sil­ver Airstream car­a­van, be sure to pull over. Chances are that it’s the Ap­pleby Farm’s ice cream van dis­pens­ing scoops of their sen­sa­tional treats that should not be missed.

Now it’s de­ci­sion time – a late af­ter­noon nap or a drink at the top of Trafal­gar Street, a traf­fic-free, mag­nif­i­cent out­door eat­ing and

drink­ing area, ser­viced by – at last count – at least eight cafes, bars and restaurants. So, kick back and start think­ing where you’ll eat din­ner that night. Pick of the bunch is Hop­good’s & Co., which took out three gongs in the 2018 Sil­ver Fern Farms Res­tau­rant Awards and, more re­cently, two hats in this year’s Cuisine Good Food Awards. / hop­goods.co.nz

The Ur­ban Oys­ter Bar and Eatery, just a hop, skip and a jump away in Hardy Street, was also awarded two hats. (Hint: Hop­goods is a slightly more for­mal din­ing es­tab­lish­ment which ac­cepts book­ings whereas The Ur­ban Oys­ter Bar and Eatery is kind of hip­ster and you’ve got to take your chances on get­ting in.) / ur­baneatery.co.nz

Still not ready for bed? Wan­der down to Rhythm and Brown in New Street for a night­cap. There’s al­ways some cool mu­sic hap­pen­ing and they of­fer a classy range of cock­tails, fine wines and craft beer. / face­book.com/rhyth­mand­brown.nz

Time to get out of town for a bit? Neu­dorf Road in the Up­per Moutere re­gion, around half an hour’s drive from Nel­son’s CBD, is home to a huge va­ri­ety of ar­ti­san pro­duc­ers.

OPPOSITE Cen­tre of New Zealand, at the top of Botan­i­cal Hill;THIS PAGE Haulashore Island

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