We stopped in the small town of Blenheim for our first 2 nights on the South Island of New Zealand. After a short drive from Picton we arrived at Blenheim but it took an inordinately long time to get to our hotel.
According to the directions given to us it was on the corner of 2 specific streets. Actually, we ended up on the incorrect corner outside an hotel with a very similar name so in we went. When we showed our check-in papers they looked at us in surprise saying we were at the incorrect place and that the other one was much nicer.
The front of our hotel
On seeing the frontage of the other hotel we had to agree and were very pleasantly surprised with all it had to offer. While at the first hotel we noticed that it was on a busy corner with 2 churches, Anglican and Methodist, a Memorial Square and the hotel.
This sign was at the entrance to the Seymour Square
Once we had booked into the correct hotel we walked up the block back to that first corner for a closer look at the Square in particular. At the corner entrance to the Square we found a detailed sign showing that from 1857 the Square, donated by a Henry Seymour, was named Seymour Square and had served as free land, grazing field, a cricket pitch, a football field, a music and concert place and is now a Memorial Square.
Flowers in the Square
WWI Memorial Clock
WWII Memorial Fountain
From there we walked to the shops passing the large courthouse. We found what had already become a favourite supermarket for us in NZ, Pak ‘n Save, where we purchased items for both dinner and breakfast. We then returned to our hotel where we relaxed in beautiful luxury.
We had a full 2nd day in Blenheim so walked in the other direction first to find some very pretty suburban homes. We also saw a large pre-primary school with a lot of children who were having a wonderful playtime outside as it was a beautiful day. Around the next corner we came across another church, the RC Church of Blenheim. For a small town of just 30 000 having three churches in such close proximity was quite interesting. I wondered if they were all full on Sundays.
The RC Church
There was not much else to see on that side of town but we enjoyed just ambling and watching many of the residents busy in their gardens. We took the opportunity to once again to walk into town where we got ourselves some lunch and then enjoyed ‘window shopping’ in the town centre.
Blenheim is in the County of Marlborough which is the heart of NZ’s wine country and this might be why the agent planned a 2 night stop here but not being wine drinkers it was a long stop for us.
The following morning before leaving for our next stop of Kaikoura, we drove into the hills outside of the town. They were beautiful and green. After an hour or so we made our way back to town with the intention of getting on the road to Kaikoura and passed a very interesting cemetery The Omaka Cemetery, No 2. There was a large tomb which housed all the Sisters who had lived in a Monastery which was no longer there and another war memorial for the local men who had died in all wars as well as many old graves which had lost their engravings.
Some of the hills around Blenheim
The tomb for the Monastery Sisters