Hippies, Hikes, and a Crazy Guy
Trip Start Oct 13, 2010
58Trip End Jun 20, 2011
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Where I stayed
Nelson City Holiday Park
October 28 - Day 11
After all the morning excitement (me heroically climbing he fence and fetching the rogue towel), we checked out of our parking lot in Wellington and drove down to the ferry terminal to board the 3-hour ride to the South Island. Aside from a group of bikers with tattoos all over their bodies and faces sitting next to us for the first half-hour of the trip, (I really wanted to take a picture but thought that I shouldn't test Joe's manliness twice in one morning as he inevitably would've had to defend me against the rough biker guys post picture taking!) it was otherwise uneventful. As we got closer though, we passed a bunch of islands called the Marlborough Sounds which were pretty awesome to see, so we braved the wind & cold and went onto the outside deck for a while
Tonight we'll be staying in Nelson, a quaint, laid-back, hippie-ish town set in the middle of Marlborough wine country....mostly Sauvignon Blanc. The drive there was pretty awesome....passing by vineyard after vineyard on brilliant green, rolling hils with mountain backdrops.
By the time we got to Nelson that evening, we were tired, hungry, and trying to figure out why our van smelled like a small animal had died in it. Thankfully for all you animal-lovers out there, that was not the case, but we did locate the problem - a disgustingly mouldy water reservoir - and Jill cleaned it while I did something incredibly useful (I'm sure) that I can't seem to remember. After dinner and chatting with some British travellers we met in the kitchen, we called it a night.
October 29 - Day 12
After breakfast this morning, Jill was startled by the sounds coming from a house right above our camp site (note: campsites here can be set right near towns and not in the back of beyond like in North America). Some dude was apparently completely losing it with is girlfriend or wife
We got to see and speak to our parents on skype today. My Dad's birthday is on the 28th, which is the 29th here (17 hours ahead believe it or not), so we called them at my sister's house right after they enjoyed LobsterFest 2010. Was great to see everyone and happy birthday Dad! I left Jill a solid 4 minutes of internet time to speak to her Mom. What a swell guy I am.
Rest of day was spent just exploring the town - checking out the cathedral, parks, squares, cafes, and then hitting the grocery store for our dinner
October 30 - Day 13
Scraped ourselves out of our luxurious double bed in the van in time to check out Nelson's Saturday morning market. Lots of cool stuff here, including fresh NZ produce and arts and crafty stuff. (I Loooove the markets. Reminds me of Saturdays on Whyte Ave back home!) Jill found a cool ring made out of recycled china while I fuelled up on caffeine. Rest of day was pretty chilled out and uneventful, though we did sit in a park for about an hour watching a couple of cricket matches...weird game...pretty boring actually, but it was a nice day and what else do we have to do really? And it was nice just to sit back and relax for a bit.
After hanging out at the camp site and procrastinating on our plans to go out that night, we finally cleaned ourselves up and headed out around 9:30...both pretty starved as we hadn't eaten dinner yet. There was a big rugby match on tonight between the All Blacks (NZ) and The Wallabies (Australia), so we thought it would be cool to watch it
We finally spot a sports bar that looks pretty hopping, as deduced by the 3 bouncers out front. We walk into the crowded pub to witness the game being projected onto THE largest screen that we've EVER seen in a bar. Cool! We're also advised that the kitchen is now closed. NOT so cool. Oh well....liquid dinner it is then! I snake my way through the crowd to the bar to get us some drinks. I'm honestly not gone more than 5 minutes when I return to find some drunk guy hitting on Jill....wow, kiwis work fast! (OR I look extremely good in leggings and sneakers! Yep, somewhat of a limited wardrobe!) We soon became "friends" as he explained to us the history and intricacies of rugby (along with various other topics) and then his expected drinks bill doubled as he bought both Jill and myself a NZ staple drink - Jim Beam and L&P (L&P is a NZ-made soft drink - now owned by big, bad, Coca-Cola)...wasn't too bad actually! Anyway, the night ended disappointingly for the crowd (including our inebriated kiwi friend) as the Aussies scored a try with about a minute left in the match to steal it from the All Blacks
October 31 - Day 14 - Abel Tasman
Leaving Nelson today and up early to drive out to Abel Tasman National Park for a day of hiking - supposed to have some of the best hiking trails in the country. The route we chose involved us taking a water taxi to a beach called Tonga and then hiking the 4-hour trail to another beach called Torrent Bay where we'd be picked up by water taxi again. The whole water taxi system was pretty cool....we boarded the boat at the company's office and then were towed to the beach via tractor, right into the water.
The boat ride out was extremely choppy. I was giggling and laughing throughout the trip as the boat dipped, dropped and thumped through the waves. It was great, and reminded me of an amusment ride! The funniest part to me, was noticing a set of 3 year old twins that slept peacefully in the arms of their white knuckled parents the entire time!
On the way to Tonga by water taxi, we stopped off at a seal colony to watch the fat little guys sunning themselves on the rocks and taking the occassional swim
We camped in a town called Motueka and were starved by the time we checked in. There was a spa pool at the campsite though, so we figured it would be great to soak our muscles in it before getting some grub, despite my hunger-induced grumpiness. Grumpiness = understatement of the year! I'll take it from here... Walking back from the spa pool, as we came within view of our van both Joe and I stopped in our tracks. "Are you kidding me?!" In this huge vacant campground with open grass everywhere, a tent had set up 4 feet away from our little van. And the kicker, was that the couple had set it up closer to our vehicle than their own! Totally NOT Cool! Joe was just relieved that I agreed with him, and that it wasn't just another thing that was annoying him just because he was starving. As Joe and I continued to the van we felt as though our distaste for their tent placement was well communicated with a swift relocation of our little house on wheels.
After showers, we walked into town and had dinner at a place called Hot Mama's Cafe - build your own burger....yum
Happy with our meals and wine at Hot Mama's, we walked back to our campsite and into our awaiting van. Tomorrow we're on the road again heading to the Franz Josef and Fox Glaiciers...should be a good time! Bye for now...