Trip Start Oct 01, 2008
Trip End Nov 16, 2008

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Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Drove up from Blenheim today and arrived back in Nelson. Realise I am way behind on the old blog front, so am taking time out to update. Some of this might get out of order as I try to retrospectively fill in the details.

It seems Ellie has outdone herself in finding our accommodation here in Nelson. We are staying at this amazing "condo" right on top of the hill overlooking the Tasman Bay, the town is a reasonable walk, but its just amazing sitting on the deck (a bit blowy) eating the freshly caught fish (terahiki) we have just barbecued (even if my fish cooking skills leave something to be desired).

We took a day trip by boat to the Abel Tasman National Park, this is the most northern spur of the NZ South Island. First stop on the tour is Split Apple Rock which is a massive boulder that the Maori believe was split in half when two legendary warriors had a fight and hit it inadvertantly with an axe. Now the Maori are pretty big blokes, and I wouldn't start a fight with them, but I really doubt if they could inflict this kind of damage to a big boulder.

We cruised all the way up the coast to the most northerly point, passing by a number of seal colonies. [Educational Note: The fur seal population in NZ dwindled to an estimated 15,000 in the early 1900s and were then listed as endangered and protected. Subsequently the population has soared to over 100 million, and there are thoughts that the large numbers and lack of predators are threatening the fish stocks. Our pilot was very scathing about the animals and claimed to be "1st in line for a sealskin hat".] We returned part way south and were dropped at a beach, Bark Bay to walk along the path south.

First order of business was lunch, ham sandwiches prepared back in Nelson by my own fair hands. Then onto the trail. Jungle, creeks, swing bridges, this hike had everything, except views of the breathtaking Tasman Bay (shame).

There were however a lot of people on the path, the only part of the trip to NZ where I have felt that there were too many people. It seemed we had taken the most popular trip and everyone was walking the path between Bark and Torrent Bays. Amongst these were the Canadian Oldies (surprisingly agile for their age and size), the Teutonic Twins (clad in black from head to toe; walked with a purpose and never cracked a smile or spoke), the exotic french family with designer gear and sparkly clean shoes, obviously we didn't trust any of them.

Ok you could see a bit of the bay.

As our pick up approached we were on the beach and waiting. Ellie took the opportunity to photograph a dead monkfish which had washed up on the beach. When the boat finally arrived, the tide was so far out, that he almost became beached and we had to wade right out to board. Needless to say our estimates of how high our trousers needed to be rolled up proved inadequate. Much hilarity amonst the nearly drowned passengers.

We stopped in Nelson and picked up Fish and Chips and a bottle of SB for a slap up dinner at the Wheelhouse, more stunning views of the sunset over Tasman Bay.
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