The next day was ferry crossing day, but I had some touristy plans to execute first. Stop one was back to the Swedish Bakery for hot chocolate and some sort of decadent flaky pastry goodness – AND I found they had pepparkakor cookies; I’d just overlooked their dedicated jar on the countertop yesterday (they had nuthin’ on Grandma’s recipe, though, upon further testing). Plus I wanted to pick up some  jars of citrus/passionfruit curd as presents – it was unbelievably scrumptious stuff.

breakfast at the Swedish Cafe

some holiday madness, no doubt.

Stop two was Queen’s Gardens in the middle of the city (because somewhere inside me lurks the sliver of the soul of an old British lady who enjoys gardening and tea, and gets real excited about rose trellises and espaliered fruit trees.)

And then I headed on my way.

yeah – pretty low tide

the one with the red puffies on it is the famous pohutukawa tree, which only blooms at Xmastime – the other is a totally quintessential Kiwi tree, but damned if I know what it’s called.

The road in and out of Nelson is the kind of twisty turny mountainous road that inspires to homicidal rage the poor local stuck behind the continental drift speed of a lumbering, tourist-driven motorhome.

I decided to get back to Picton, the ferry departure point, by an even twistier one: alongside the Queen Charlotte Sound. The reward, of course, is views like this.

Cullen Point lookout, on the Queen Charlotte Drive

cookie stop! this bore no resemblance to the peparkakor I know, however. it was like IKEA gingerbread.

Just as I was wondering where in the hell I was, and shouldn’t I be there by now, Picton’s quay popped into view.

After logging in via the faint heartbeat of some distant mobile network signal, I discovered Bill had no work for me that night, queued up for the ferry, and bid farewell to the South Island.

you’ll never catch me now, coppers!

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