Trip Start Jun 10, 2009
Trip End Sep 07, 2009

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Green Monkey Backpackers

Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Thursday, July 30, 2009

After finishing the trek, Dom and I walked to the car park at the end of the Abel Tasman Coastal Track to catch a bus to Blenheim, where we could meet up with the other guys, get our stuff out of Sebastian's car and give them some of their stuff back and have a last hurrah before splitting up to travel the South Island. The only problem was that buses don't run from Abel Tasman in winter, a fact Dom and I did not learn until we were half a day away from the other guys and stuck 15 km from the nearest town. So we started walking.

We decided we would try to hitch, but since so few cars came down the road we were on we would also keep walking so that if we didn't catch a ride we would at least be able to find somewhere to stay by making it to a town. We walked probably about 5 km before deciding to wait for a while to see if more cars would pass since we had passed other roads as well. We sat down on the side of the road and played cards for a little while, but only two cars passed us going the right direction that time, and neither they nor the one car that had passed us when we were walking before decided to stop, so we kept walking. After another couple of kilometers, another car passed, and this one finally stopped. When we talked to the driver, though, our hearts fell: she asked where the Tui Community was, and we had passed that about an hour ago, near where we had started walking. We told her, disappointed, thinking she would be turning around to go in the opposite direction, but our day was immediately brightened when she asked if we wanted to come with her and then she would take us to Takaka, a town about 20 km away that was on the main highway we needed to be on to get to Blenheim. We accepted, of course, and hopped in.

It was a bit humbling zooming back in a couple of minutes over the distance we had covered in about an hour and a half, but it was more than made up for when we zipped past the place we had been picked up and kept going. The ride made us even more grateful to have been picked up, because the town was further away than we had thought and past several hills with steep and curving roads. We were dropped off at the iSite (the visitor information center) in Takaka and, after thanking the woman (whose name I never caught; I was in the back), went inside to inquire about a bus to Blenheim.

There were none, of course. We were given it straight: our only hope for getting out of Takaka was by hitching. With that tidbit of information, we went outside to exercise our thumbs. After a while, we dropped by a grocery store for some snacks and went back to it. We eventually got a lift to Nelson, a decently large town a couple of hours away. When we got there it was heading toward sundown, but we decided to attempt to grab another lift anyway. We struck out and ended up having to stay a night in Nelson, which was all right. The next day we got up bright and early and went back out to our chosen spot on the edge of town, stuck out our thumbs and within two minutes someone stopped and offered us a ride all the way to Blenheim, another hour or so away. I guess we just looked more friendly in daylight than twilight.

It turned out, however, that the guy was only going to Renwick, a town about 15 km outside of Blenheim. We were disappointed but glad to be so close and started walking in the direction of Blenheim, thumbs out. We eventually got one last ride and made it into the middle of Blenheim. We hiked back to good ole Leeways. It almost felt like going home, we've spent so much time there.
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