Abel Tasman National Park, NZ South Island
24.10.2010 - 27.10.2010 23 °C
I was going to have to get used to sad goodbyes on this tour. It is amazing how quickly you can get to know people when you are stuck on a bus with them all day, staying at the same hostel and sharing amazing adventures. At Picton, we had to say a sad farewell to Debbie, who was catching the ferry there to the North Island. We were also joined by travellers coming from the North Island and our tour group suddenly went from about 10 to about 30, with still no obvious sign of the 24 hour party people.
A lovely drive through sunny vineyards of the Marlborough region brings us to the sunshine capital of NZ, Nelson. We arrived at the hostel quite late so it was straight out with Katie and some Welsh travellers to get some fish ‘n chips and a cheeky pint. The local pub and chip shop in Nelson have joined forces so you can order your takeaway and have it delivered right to your table in the pub. Genius! The pub happened to also be a microbrewery so we set about sampling some of the local brews before having to say yet another sad farewell to Katie who was only stopping in Nelson for the night, on a tight schedule.
I very much regretted the ginger beer and cider fest when the next morning I had to get up at stupid o’clock to go trekking and kayaking in the stunning Abel Tasman National Park, just outside of Nelson. First up, a gentle 15km trek along the stunning coastline of the Park. It should have been less actually but Disco the Magic bus driver (got a ring to it hasn’t it!) suggested we went further to Anchorage bay for some awesome views. To get there meant going some at a bit of a pace and me with my ginger beer hangover? Not possible? In my trekking group were two Swedish sisters off the bus, Alberto (Spain) and Bernie (Netherlands) also off the bus, and a Dutch couple not off the bus. The two lads, Alberto and Bernie, were pretty intent on doing the extra distance to the further bay but i still wasn’t sure.. Ouchhhh me head!!!
Really enjoyed the walk and it cleared the head a bit. We walked along cliffs, on beaches, through woods and past little waterfalls. When we got to the peninsula it was time to decide whether to go the extra few miles or not. The Swedes who I was with at the time decided not (and come on they were at least 10 years younger than me!) but me, with hangover, decided sod it lets go...... A pretty steep trek but worth it (I think!) for the views of Torrent bay, with its various tidal inlets. I took my lunch break on the wide sands of Anchorage beach before heading to Watering Cove on the other side of the peninsula where we were to meet our kayak guide.
This was the best bit! These were not just your bog standard canoes, these were FIRST CLASS kayaks, complete with camera compartments, skirts to keep us dry, steering pedals, extra luggage allowance and free champagne!!! OK, maybe not quite the last bits but they were pretty swanky. With my kayak partner Bernie we followed our guide out to sea and around the offshore island of Adele. It was great, we even saw blue penguins, the world’s smallest, swimming in the sea near to us (first time I had seen penguins in the wild!), we had fur seals give Alberto a near-capsize experience by jumping out of the sea in front of him, and we saw some ‘shags’ nesting. Yep, I will refrain myself just for this time! The sun had his hat on, the beaches were beautiful, and the hangover was no more
Final day in Nelson I went on one of my walkabouts which ended up on top of a hill at the actual geographical centre of New Zealand, overlooking the city and Abel Tasman Park, nice way to end my time here.....