A twenty-minute drive from Nelson is a lovely park along the beach on Rabbit Island.
Campsites are simple with grass pull-ins, a picnic table, and a large barbeque. We chose a site along the beach. This beach is along the Tasman Bay, named after New Zealand’s first European discoverer in 1642. Abel Tasman was a Dutch explorer on a trading ship from Indonesia, but that is another story.
The tide was high as we played in the water with our new friends, Tressa, her daughter Emily, and parents, Nelly and Ricky Nelligna (Maryann and Roger made friends with this family on a previous trip to NZ). Compared to the Pacific Ocean water in northern California, the water here is warm. It was a midweek summer day, and the beach was not that crowded.
When it was time to light the barbeque, we first gathered firewood from the wooded area around our site (an act that is usually restricted at parks in the states). I learned later from Peter that the park often allows people to come and collect firewood for their home fireplaces. Our hosts loaded up the large BBQ with burgers, sausages, and onions. The spread was an amazing collection of foods from both homes. We had fresh fruit like apricots, pineapple, grapes, and berries pick from the side of the road, hard-boiled eggs from the Tressa’s chickens, olives, and fixings for the delicious meats. How wonderfully delicious and oh, so very filling.
After that meal from heaven, we strolled barefoot along the beach. A strong breeze, the warm summer sun, and our feet in the ocean water made the perfect combination for comfort. What a blissful time we had at the beach. An event we plan to repeat again while we are here.