The Nelson area is known as the craft brewing capital of
New Zealand, dating back to the first settlement of the area in the 1840s when it was colonised by German settlers. They found it an ideal location to grow hops, and Nelson remains the principal hop-growing region of New Zealand. There are a dozen local breweries, some producing beer which is available throughout New Zealand and beyond, like Stokes, whilst others are micro-breweries selling beer only available at their pub. Many of these brewers brought their product to Beervana, which I went to in August.
After picking up a hire car at the airport, we first headed back into Nelson to the Founder’s Park, which contains many old buildings and is also the site of the Founder’s Brewery. It shows a somewhat idealised picture of the life in old
New Zealand – although the equipment in the dentist’s surgery gave a grisly reminder that all was not sweetness and light in the good ol’ days.
After that we decided to head up to The Mussel Inn at Onekaka in
, on the advice of a former colleague and (current) beer fan. This was a bit of a drive away, via the scenic State Highway 60. We stopped along the way at various lookouts to admire the scenery. Golden Bay
We reached The Mussel Inn in time to have some lunch there, and to down a pint or two of Captain Cooker, one of their own beers brewed on the premises.
We made a plan to drive back via a couple of breweries, but were somewhat thwarted in our quest as it was getting late on a Sunday afternoon, and they were either closed on Sundays, or closed by the time we got to them. We took the car back to the rental place and checked in for our flight back to