My first post of our New Zealand trip left off once we were in Blenheim and enjoying the Marlborough region. After our stop here, we headed further north of the South Island and arrived in Nelson, our favourite town we visited during our New Zealand trip.
When we got to our motel, we were told that a visit to the coastal town of Mapua was a must, so seeing as though it was less than half an hour away, we decided to head straight there for lunch.
Mapua is a coastal town known for its apples. It’s a tiny little town with lots of fishing boats and a harbour bay area overlooking the Tasman Bay. We decided to lunch at The Apple Shed. I couldn’t go past ordering Fish and Chips (NZ$23.50), and A ordered the mussels (NZ$19.50).
My fish and chips were the best fish and chips I’ve ever had. Absolutely perfect – the fish had a light tempura batter that was super crunchy and had a perfect amount of salt. It also wasn’t excessively oily and I could happily eat the batter on both of my slices of fish (as I typically remove the batter on other occasions as it’s too greasy for me normally!). The fries were perfect as well, and I loved the lightly dressed coleslaw.
A had the mussels and said they were really fresh and she loved the coconut based sauce.
A and I have a rule – if our dinners are fantastic, we will order dessert. On this occasion, we couldn’t go past the sound of the Granny Smith Apple Fritters served with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce (NZ$13.50). These apple fritters were amazing – they were super crisp, coated in cinnamon and the house made ice cream and buttery caramel sauce were perfect accompaniments. It was a beautiful lunch in a gorgeous setting that we highly recommend experiencing.
Later that evening, we took the second recommendation from the host of our motel. We ended up having one of the best meals of our life. We ended up at Hopgood’s for dinner, located within the Nelson CBD.
A started with a glass of the Saddleback Pinot Noir (a New Zealand wine originating from Central Otago) while I had the Graggy Range Shiraz. As I am a huge fan of parfait, pate and terrines, I twisted A’s arm to share the chicken liver parfait for our entrée. When we had our first bites, we were both amazed at the flavours. The texture was so soft and it was perfect in every way. Hopgood’s also added a circle of micro herbs to the dish, and as I mentioned before I am a huge fan of these herbs (so tiny but so much flavour!).
At the end of our mains, we were blown away by how great our meals were. The meat was cooked perfectly, each element on the dish was well matched with the others and it was definitely one of the best meals we’ve both had. Fine dining but without the hefty price tag! We both highly recommend a visit to Hopgood’s!
Before we left Nelson, we found Zumo, a coffee roasting company to buy some takeaway coffees. We bought two takeaway coffees, made with Zumo-Two.
While we were waiting, I found my favourite iced tea in the drinks fridge so I bought two for the road as well. I was introduced to Ti Tonics by Source Foods in Highgate who used to stock them, but now stock Phoenix instead. I really like Ti Tonics for their natural ingredients and focus on maintaining the integrity of the health benefits associated with tea. Ti Tonics also endeavour to be super low in sugar. Flavours include pomegranate, passion, mango, nectarine and my favourite, blueberry.
After grabbing our take away coffee (which were made really well), we began our long drive to Greymouth, located on the west of the South Island. Before we left, the locals mentioned that it should only take 4 hours drive, however it took us 7 hours (possibly due to the wet weather). We made numerous stops on the way, as the scenery was beautiful. We saw another colony of seals too!
When we arrived at Greymouth, it took a bit of time to find somewhere to stay but finally we found accommodation. We asked the owner of the motel for any restaurant recommendations and he mentioned that the Indian restaurant in town, Priya Indian Restaurant, was a favourite. A and I ordered the garlic naan, tandoori chicken, buttered chicken, dahl and tandoori roti. A really liked the tandoori chicken, which had a bit of a bite and we both enjoyed the “buttered chicken”. The servings were generous and there wasn’t much to fault. An excellent local Indian restaurant.
The next morning, we got ready for another day of driving with a quick breakfast stop at Hokitika. We ended at Cafe 39 for breakfast and sampled CPR coffee beans, a local New Zealand roaster that A and I had been meaning to try. CPR coffee beans are 100% fair traded, Arabica beans. Our coffee was made well and I enjoyed the coffee beans taste.
After Hokitika, we headed to Franz Josef. It was another day that was a bit drizzly, so we decided to only head to the lookout. The glacier was an amazing site and in hindsight, I wished A and I did the longer hike to get closer to it.
We drove to Fox Glacier next, which is only 20kms away. A and I braved the rain to walk to the safety barrier, a good ten minute walk up hill.
Our day of driving didn’t end there unfortunately, with our final leg of the day being from Fox Glacier to Haast. When we reached our motel, A and I were both keen on dinner and a few glasses of vino, so headed to the pub up the road called the Hard Antler Bar & Restaurant. Amazingly, in a pub in the middle of nowhere, we had an excellent meal with a few glasses of the Stoneleigh Sauvignon Blanc, an inexpensive but quite tasty glass of white. Since being back in Perth, A and I are regularly buying this white to enjoy, as the $20 price tag is very reasonable (it’s now been added to my wine list).
I ordered the venison hot pot and A had the lamb shanks. We also shared a sticky date pudding afterwards while we played a game of pool. It was a lovely evening.
The next morning, we awoke early to head on a Haast River Safari on a jet boat. These safari’s are supposed to be New Zealand’s only sea to mountain eco-jet adventure that crosses an earthquake fault line, a kiwi retreat, cascading waterfalls and a stroll through the Southern Alps.
A and I were really looking forward to it, but unfortunately there were a few issues with the boat. The first was the shortage in fuel supply, so we had to turn around within our first half-hour. The second was when the engine nearly caught alight and there was thick smoke coming out of the engine. It was a scary trip back to the bank that left me a little scared of boats (again!).
However, during our short trip out on the boat, we learnt a lot about the local wildlife plus the very profitable whitebaiting season that happens in Haast.
As our safari was cut short, A and I decided to lunch at The Craypot at Jackson’s Bay, which is a very small fishing village. The Craypot is housed within a tiny little purpose built building that is a cross between a caravan and a demountable building. Inside, it only seats a small number of people within the booths. On the day we went, there was only one person cooking and serving within this tiny little makeshift restaurant, who had her work cut out for her as amazingly this little place gets quite busy.
A and I decided to try a Whitebait Fritter, made with locally caught whitebait. This was our first try of whitebait and after this introduction, we were eating a lot of whitebait for the rest of our trip, as the tender delicacies were moreish!
I ordered the Smoked Salmon Salad for lunch while A had the Blue Cod Fish and Chips (NZ$18). We really enjoyed the food here and the very quaint setting. We highly recommend a visit but it might be worth calling a head to make sure that The Craypot is open (as I believe her opening hours differ between seasons).
Part 3 in our New Zealand trip will be published next week (hopefully!) and will include:
- Dinner at the White House in Wanaka
- Lunch at Amifield Winery
- Our three days in Queenstown, including the famous Fergburgers
- Our two days in Auckland
- Flying Premium Economy with Air New Zealand