After saying goodbye to our friendly neighbours camping with us behind the historic Trout Hotel in Canvastown on Saturday morning, we got on our way. Nelson was our next stop, a drive of 81km. And we wanted to get there relatively early, as we had heard that the Richmond Motorhome and Caravan Park CAP (charges apply parking) had been full up lately, and we didn’t want to miss out on a site. We passed by the pretty DOC Camp at Pelorous Bridge, drove through the Rai Valley, then tackled the Richmond Range. This was rather steep in places, so it was a slow trip up and over the range. Once we saw the Welcome to Nelson sign, we knew we were almost there.
Of course, there was room for us at the Richmond Motorhome and Caravan Park, so we didn’t have to think about Plan B. We had stayed here previously, and it is a good park with power, water, rubbish disposal, toilets and laundry available, at a very reasonable $15 a night on power. Here we are parked up between two other Leisureline vans – our stay was to be for three nights.
Three Leisurelines in a row
Not sure what this vintage van is, it could well be home-made
There has been a new addition since our last visit – a chain from the Wahine Ferry which capsized in Wellington Harbour in April 1968 with the loss of 53 lives, had been placed in front of one of the gardens on the adjacent race-course. The white writing on the chain links relates the story of the tragedy.
“Wahine anchor chain
Wahine built (in) Scotland 1965-66
Lyttleton – Wellington roll-on, roll-of ferry
Wahine foundered in severe storm 10th April 1968
With 123 crew and 612 passengers
At entrance to Wellington Harbour, 53 perished”
Read more about the Wahine Disaster here
Wahine anchor chain
Then on Sunday the heavens opened up and the rain came down in sheets. After weeks of dealing with hot temperatures in the 30s and hiding from the sun (not that we were really complaining about the hot weather) it was now wet, wet, wet. Large puddles formed outside, and the heavy rain was keeping all the campers inside their vans. Except for the neighbour on the right of us, we watched him out in the pouring rain, wearing his togs (swimming trunks) as he vigorously wiped down his van. It didn’t seem right to take a photo of him, but it did look so funny.
And the rain came down
It may have been a wet, miserable day, but we had been invited to join the rellies in a Sunday roast dinner. Robin’s sister Kaye and hubby Jan live in Richmond and kindly took pity on a couple of campers – and to be honest, we don’t cook roasts while we are traveling around. It was so nice to catch up with all their family news, and the roast lamb meal was divine! Can you see that crayfish shell on the wall? Jan and his mates are keen fishermen, and often bring home crayfish and blue cod to feed family and friends.
Jan and Kaye
By Monday morning the rain had long gone, and it promised to be a scorcher. With a load of washing done and hanging out in the sunshine to dry, we decided to do some sight seeing. Just up the road is the remains of a huge Tasmanian Blue Gum tree, known as the Otterson Gum. Following a branch falling down, it was discovered that there were major structural problems and this notable tree was felled in 2005 at the age of 158 years.
All that remains of the Otterson Gum
Then it was on to Mapua Wharf to enjoy eating fish and chips from The Smokehouse, seated outside in the sunshine – a “must do” Mapua experience. This was followed by an ice-cream for him and a coffee for her.
Lunching at Mapua Wharf
Once a busy coastal freight wharf during the orchard heyday, Mapua Wharf is now a trendy restaurant, bar, café and arts and crafts precinct. But the remnants of it’s early history still remain in the buildings.
The former Mapua Cool Stores
After all the heavy rain which fell the previous day the water was a very dirty, muddy colour. It wasn’t usually like that, we were told by a couple of locals. It was great to be out in the sun shine after all the rain on Sunday, enjoying exploring the wharf. And by the number of people wandering around, it seemed that a very popular destination.
View from Mapua Wharf