Day 38: Glenhope to Nelson

Journal for 2014-11-27 | Published on 2014-11-28 22:22:08

We woke up a little earlier than usual, but rather than wait around, we decided there was no reason to dilly dally, so we got ready, had breakfast, and took off. There was a rainbow out our bedroom window, which didn’t bode well, as it looked like the weather was coming our way. No bother! We know how to ride in the rain!

We completed the last 4 km up the Hope Saddle, reached the top just as the rain started to fall. There was a scenic lookout, which would have been much more scenic if it hadn’t been raining, but we enjoyed it anyways and put on our raingear for the long, swift downhill. If you remember, there were to be two saddles to climb today, with lots of downhill and flat in between, and then a long downhill into Nelson.

After this first downhill we spotted a sign for an ice cream store around the time the road flattened out, and decided that, no, 9:30 am is NOT too early for ice cream. We had an enjoyable chat with the clerk, she wanted to know all about our trip, and what we’ve seen. Super nice. Then it was back on the road, and although we had managed to ride ahead of the rain, it caught up to us just as we were climbing the second saddle. So, the rain gear went back on, but not for long, because the rain let up, and we were climbing, and sweating, especially the last kilometer or two near the top. But, once we reached the top, it was “all downhill from there”.

We enjoyed a long downhill with not too many curves to slow us down, and a nice wide shoulder. We paused Belgrove whose best claim to fame was the windmill, however there was no information about said windmill. Then we stopped for lunch at a picnic area. While there, we met fellow tourist Tim, who has just begun his tour of the south island after touring the north. He’s headed in the opposite direction, so we gave him tips and pointed out cool stuff for him to see and do on his trip. Additionally we handed off our copy of Peddalers Paradise which was given to us by other tourists earlier in the trip. We hope he has a fabulous time and the weather is nice for his trip.

Eventually we had to get headed down the road, and we were definitely enjoying the downhill and slight tailwind. We stopped at the monument to Ernest Rutherford, who was born in NZ and won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work with the atom. The memorial was quite informative, and told all about his life. He’s the only Kiwi to have an element named after him. Pretty cool!

By this time, the sun was shining, and we started to experience the famous Nelson weather, which I think feels a lot like California. We even turned off the main highway and rode on a bicycle trail through vineyards. It was very pretty. The wind was at our backs, and the path was smooth, for the most part. Nelson residents have a reputation for being friendly to cyclists, and we experienced two instances of this today. First, when we were just starting the vineyard trail, and were uncertain where to pick it up, a local shared with us a lot of information and possible routes to get downtown. Then, later on the trail, when we reached a fork, a local told us to follow him, and he would take us down the path and around the big hill in town. Super friendly people, and it definitely brightened up the already bright day.

We rode along the beach front, enjoying amazing views of the water, headed toward the town center, and sought after a room. The first place was full, but directed us to one a little further, and it’s a nice place. Great facilities, and the staff is really friendly. We showered, and headed back to downtown to hit an ATM and get some groceries for dinner.

While returning to our place, we ran into a friendly face, Deanne, the woman we’ve now run into 3 times on our trip, first in Fox Glacier, then Franz Josef, and now here! It is not a small island, and what are the odds that we’d be walking down the same street at the same time? She’s headed back to the states tomorrow, and it looks like she enjoyed her trip very much.

We fixed dinner, did laundry, and are now relaxing and winding down for the evening. We plan to stay in Nelson for one more night, so we’ve booked a kayaking excursion to Abel Tasman National Park, you know, give our legs a rest and work the arms a bit. Should be awesome, just like everything else we’ve done here.

Our plan after that is to take 2 days to get to Picton, and then catch the train to Christchurch, then the plane back home. I can’t believe this journey is coming to an end. We still have 2 days of riding left, and they’re sure to be awesome.


Distance: 88.64km

Time: 5:02

Average: 17.61kmh

Max Speed: 55.45kmh

Climb: 562m



A piece of glass we found embedded in Pam's front tire, about 5mm deep. No flat though.

Rainbows behind us, while pretty it meant rain was coming.

Another rainbow, this one very low to the ground and complete.

Ah the Belgrove windmill, with no information at all about it's significance.

Ernest Rutherford birthplace memorial

Riding through the vineyards on the Great Taste Cycle Trail

Pam enjoying a random bench carved out a huge tree trunk


One more for the Lineberry's

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  1. tracey says:

    You journal is so well done, every time, kudos. I bet at this moment you are already planning your next adventure. I am so thankful for you, I am so blessed that you two got together. Pam, Matthew is a great guy, but he is definitely a happier person with you to share his life. The world is a better place because you two are together in it. I know I am a better person, for having both of you to watch over me. Thank you, today, and every day. peace and love, mom

  2. Jennifer B says:

    I almost lept out of my chair reading that you got to see the birthplace of Ernest Rutherford. He was truly a genius and an amazing chemist. I hope the rest of your trip went wonderfully.

    • Matthew Emerson says:

      Thanks Jen, we it cracked us up because the monument to him was the largest, most elaborate, that we saw in New Zealand to anyone. It was cool learning about him and his accomplishments. -Matt

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