18 - Teal Valley and Country Churchyards
Time: 1 hour plus
Area: Nelson North
Start Location: St John's Church, Hira
Head out of Nelson towards the Whangamoa Saddle and drive to St John's Church at the turn-off to Cable Bay.
Most old churches have a steeple, but St John's is unusual because it also has a chimney! The vicar used to come to St John's by horse and trap and there was a bed and washstand for him to stay overnight in the vestry while he visited his farming congregation. The churchyard, 100m uphill, has gravestones of early families, many still resident in the Cable Bay area.
Back in the car, drive on to Teal Valley, a well signposted right turn just before the Whangamoa Hill. Park on the grass verge and set off for the 50 minute return walk up the valley. At the end of the public road local artist and potter Christopher Vine's garden provides a view from the gate of a 'host of golden daffodils' in the spring time and a year round look at the relics he has rescued from Nelson historic buildings. Return and walk back down the valley.
On the way back to Nelson take the second driveway on the left after the Wakapuaka Tennis Courts and before the Glen turn-off, to the old St Andrew's Cemetery. There is an interpretive panel which gives you the history of the old church which stood on this site from 1865-1960, and graves which reveal the hard and often short lives of the early European settlers.