Ferry from Welly and Abel Tasman

Trip Start Mar 12, 2012
Trip End Jul 10, 2012

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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Tuesday, April 10, 2012

After the best night's sleep most of us have had in a while, we drove the bus down to Wellington, to spend the afternoon there. From what I saw, it seemed like a nice little city. I'm planning to stay there for a few days on my way back to Auckland. I was pretty tired when we got there, so did a little walk around the city before going back to our hostel. I knew I was coming back, so didn't feel any pressure to rush around trying to do stuff.
Perhaps rather foolishly we decided to have a little party that night, as some of our friends were staying in Wellington a few days. We weren't feeling our best the next morning, and we had to be at the ferry terminal at 7am! But everyone managed to get there ok, even though some of the boys went to the wrong terminal, and had to walk ages to get back.

Then it was a 3 hour ferry journey to the South Island. The weather was grey and dreary as we left Wellington, but as we came nearer the South Island, we were treated to brilliant blue skies and gorgeous scenery. Everyone was so excited as we got near, it was a great atmosphere. It even cured our hangovers! 

Once we arrived, we picked up a lot of newcomers. I was almost chucked off the bus, as we had one too many people, but luckily me for and unluckily for another girl on our bus, she was the one who wasn't booked on, and I was on the waiting list, so I was allowed to stay. That was a scary moment! Then it was onto our bus again, and heading straight for Abel Tasman. The drive was wonderful, we went through some spectacular scenery. On the way we stopped at a vineyard, and did some wine tasting. Very classy! Stopped for some shopping and to get supplies for the evening's BBQ! I helped Horse with the shopping, so made sure we got some Tim Tams and ice-cream for pudding! 

By the time we got to our accommodation, it was dark. We were also in the middle of the countryside there, so not a lot of lights. Queue everyone trying to find their torches and headlights. The place we stayed in was great. It was right in Abel Tasman National Park. We were all given these cute little 2 bed cabins. My friend and I got a great one that looked out to the beach. I was glad we were staying two nights! That night we had a great barbecue, and got to know the new people on our bus. We had so much food that we couldn't eat it all. But that meant sausages for breakfast and lunch the next day, which was pretty nice! We also sat outside by the fire they had going, and toasted marshmallows. Sooo good. 

  Unfortunately, when we woke up the next day, it was pouring with rain. That meant no boat trips that we had all had planned. Instead, most of us went out and walked part of the Coastal Track. It was really nice, even in the rain, with some spectacular golden beaches. I had also planned to go horse-riding on the beach in the afternoon, but the rain just got worse, so that got cancelled too. I also left my camera on the bus, which was locked up, so didn't take a single picture of Abel Tasman! They wouldn't have been any good anyway, with the rain and everything, but still! It's strange not having any photos of the place! That night we all trudged down to 'Fat Tui', the local burger place, but also famous in New Zealand for it's burgers. It was a really cute little place, luckily with shelter from the rain. It had a really nice atmosphere, with candles and sea shells on the tables. The burgers were absolutely delicious, and massive too. They were also really generous, and gave our entire group huge portions of chips for free! It was a really nice gesture, and made up for a slightly disappointing day! We then went back and dried ourselves by the log fire in the living room. 

 Of course, as we were leaving the next morning, the weather was great! Sod's law, eh? Nevermind. That day we made our way to Greymouth. On the way we stopped at some cool stops, including a river, the Westport seal colony and the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks. The seals were oh so cute, with the little pups crawling around trying to find their mums. The limestone formations that are the Pancake Rocks were amazing. They were formed 30 million years ago, after immense sea pressure caused fragments of dead marine creatures to solidify in hard and soft layers. Acidic rain, wind, and seawater created the weird shapes of the rocks that you can see today. They were really fascinating. 

After the Pancake Rocks we carried on the Greymouth where we stopped for the night. When we got there, we visited Monteith's Brewery, one of New Zealand's most famous breweries. As they are currently re-building their brewery, we had a 'video tour' of the old brewery. But what everyone was there for was the beer tasting that came with the tour. It was pretty much a free for all beer tasting. We were given little glasses (about a quarter of a pint), and you could try any of their 6 beers, and pretty much drink as much as you could in the 45 mins we had! So of course we all tried every beer, and had quite a few samples. A very funny experience, but some truly delicious beers. I wish I could bring some back for my Dad to try! We then all went out for dinner, which was included in the price. I had some amazing fish and chips, some of the best I've ever tasted! Then it was back to the hostel for a 'bin-bag' party, where everyone had to make costumes out of bin-bags. Some people really made an effort, and there were some great costumes! Unfortunately, I wasn't feeling well (too much beer!) and fell asleep upstairs and missed the party! But I did feel better the next day, so it was worth getting a good night's sleep!
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