Checking out the Neighborhood

Trip Start Mar 06, 2013
Trip End Apr 04, 2013

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Where I stayed
AirBnB Klaas and Floor
What I did
Abel Tasman National Park
Collingwood, NZ

Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Friday, March 15, 2013

Today ended up being a free day, having completed our checkout in ETU and having no other urgent tasks to handle, so we decided to drive out to Collingwood on Golden Bay. This would take us over some rugged terrain and past the Abel Tasman National Park. This is about 100 km of driving but it would take a full day to go there and back.

The valley North of Motueka is full of vineyards. This year is expected to be an epic wine harvest. The vines did look great--or at least what we could see under white netting to protect the grapes from all the creatures that would like to assist in some unofficial harvesting. This area is also full of fruit orchards. The apple and pear trees were heavy with lovely ripe fruit. Many orchards are surrounded by 3 meter tall evergreen hedges. Not sure if this protects them from prying eyes or from road grime.
By the time we started up the ridge between Motueka and Takaka, we were pining for the MINI or the Miata. It would be a great drive in a car made for fun cornering. Even the trucks have to be especially agile to get around the bends.

The ladies guild in the Takaka information center was most helpfull in figuring out what to do with limited time we had. The old lady was not impressed when we asked for an easy small hike but her recommendation to Pupu springs worked out great. It was neat to see the humongous ferns up close.
"Te Waikoropupū Springs, discharging 14,000 litres of water per second, are the largest freshwater springs in New Zealand, the largest cold water springs in the Southern Hemisphere, and contain some of the clearest water ever measured".  

The water was bubbling up and amazingly clear. The road went further west and winding its way up a hill. The top of the ridge was about 3000', then we wound down to the next valley floor at sea level again. There were people on bikes. It did not seem very safe with lots of blind hairpin turns. The paved road ended in Collingwood a former gold mining location with an unfortunate penchant for catching fire. Lots of historic notes around about the fire in 1903 and 1930 but obviously no old buildings left. We went for a walk on the beach.

The way back wast just as scenic but now all the scary tuns were on the other side of the road. We tried something new for us and used the power of the internet and a article in the New York Times to sign up for a peer to peer room rental in a private home.  AirBnB's website lets you find people that are willing to rent out a room for a night and you can tweak the search criteria just right. Cats no cats,high speed internet, laundry etc etc. The first homeowner  that popped up in Nelson with internet happened to be identified as Klaas. He had to be dutch. A recent (4 yr) immigrant from Amsterdam. He and his wife Floor and there little kids had a great spare room  with private bathroom and access. The little girls where skiny blond girls like my nieces in the Netherlands. It was a long way to go to speak a little dutch but it all worked out great. We had a nice quiet evening in the backyard.
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