The Royal Hotel

Date: Tuesday 12 March 2013
Route: Motueka to Nelson
Distance: 88km (62km to Nelson, rest around town)
Weather: warm and sunny
Accommodation: Nelson City Holiday Park

We left fairly late today, still a bit weary from the previous day’s marathon ride.

We first did a scenic ride along the Motueka beachfront – there is a rough cycle track there. We then took an inland route through farmland towards Nelson. There are cycle routes under construction here (Great Taste Trail), but unfortunately not realised yet, so we were on a road and had to ride along the motorway part of the way. We met a bewildered Swiss family on the motorway. They had their small daughter in a cart behind one of the bikes. We felt sorry for them as the motorway is certainly not suitable for this, but this was really no alternate route here.

We did a detour to go and look at Rabbit Island just before Richmond. The island is covered in plantations and the gate on the bridge closed as sunset – there is not much here – just a recreation reserve.

We picked up the bicycle trail from here again into Richmond – it was pretty rough again (what Kris calls a goat track – better for walkers than cyclists). We met the Swiss family again in Richmond and had a long chat.

After Richmond there was a beautiful (wide, tarred) bicycle route all the way to Nelson.

We spent some time in Nelson checking out the different camp sites. None are really close to
the central city – we eventually settled for the City Holiday Park.

In the evening we went into the centre and had a pizza each – very good and discounted 30% between 4 and 6pm. Then we looked around at the pubs and Kris found the Royal Hotel. It doesn’t look very promising from the outside, but Kris saw there were some interesting beers on tap. Richard, the owner has a passion for beer and stocks a selection of locally brewed beers. He took us through a tasting. We enjoyed the Mussel Inn Manuka beer (very aromatic), as well as their Dark Horse beer (beautifully balanced) – these are brewed in Golden Bay and delivered in person by the beer maker. The Lighthouse Pilsner was also very interesting with buttery caramel tones. Richard was so personable we spent the rest of the evening there. Later on we met his wife. A group came in to play a friendly pool competition and Kris was roped in to make up the numbers. We also watched a re-run of the Super 14 Stormers vs Chiefs (Stormers won). Richard only bought the bar about two and a half months ago, but he is doing a great job creating a welcoming, community atmosphere, with great beer.

If you go to Nelson – visit this bar!!

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