You’ve just completed the North Island itinerary and the South Island beckons! Are ya ready? Sure you are, but you’re kinda tired. Wouldn’t it be nice to take a ‘breather’, somewhere quiet and rural to refresh for a couple of days. Sometimes it’s smarter to base yourself inbetween the main centres. Take a city like like nelson – love it to bits – but last year instead of staying there, we based ourselves at Ruby Bay, 30mins from Nelson. We needed remoteness while still having the finer things of life (gold taps excepted). It started with the opening of electronic gates (much fumbling with keys to release the gates – Michael tripping over himself to get back into the car before they closed – pure slapstick!). What rose up to meet us was a glorious view of cliffs and blue sea and we had it all to ourselves to enjoy from a beautiful purpose-built villa. Did I mention the couple of grinning hairy faces which thankfully didn’t belong to the hosts. Their labradors were very well behaved. Doesn’t this photo say it all (Michael’s feet, not mine!).

So what’s inbetween Nelson and the Abel Tasman National Park I hear you ask. Bronte is a beautiful area and about 30 min from Nelson. Lovely accommodation options and worth every darn penny. Ten minutes later, you’ll be in Mapua and seafood galore right at the wharf. Ten mins later you’ll be in Ruby Bay. Motueka’s next and has a very big fishing industry – great oysters! Inbetween Ruby Bay and Motueka lies the Tasman Village and a place called Kina Beach – stay there if you like – in a beautifully restored old schoolhouse opening out onto a vineyard: bliss!. After Motueka, there’s Kaiteriteri (do stock up with provisions before you get there) and 5 minutes later, the magnificant Abel Tasman National Park. Kayaking, personalised boat tours and stunning walks. So if you just wanna hang out for a while, we’ve found the perfect inbetween place.

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