After checking out of The Palace I walked the short distance to Bridge Street to collect a hire car from Hardy Cars. At least, that’s what I should have done; actually I took a wrong turning and walked the long distance to Bridge Street instead. On my first visit to New Zealand in 1999 I had sat next to a German guy on the flight from Auckland down to Christchurch and he told me that he owned a car hire company in Nelson and if I ever wanted a car when I was there, to go to him. Almost five and a half years later here I was. He no longer has a stake in the business he started but I still wanted to get my car from Hardy Cars, the main reason being that they were cheap. In fact I was paying barely more than a third of what I had paid in Rotorua. My transport for the next couple of weeks was a Nissan Something called BAR434 and it wasn’t long before I was driving it.
I filled up with fuel in a BP garage on Rutherford Street. The guy who served me asked me where I was going. When I told him, he said that he would try to get as much into my tank as possible because on the West Coast they don’t bother advertising the prices of their fuel in the normal way, they just show a picture of an arm and a leg.