Kayaking in paradise

Trip Start Oct 01, 2012
Trip End Oct 01, 2015

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Flag of New Zealand  , Nelson,
Tuesday, March 19, 2013

We had another early morning and happily checked out of our Wellington hovel and walked in the rain to the shuttle bus which took us to the ferry.
The ferry leaves Wellington on the north island and sails north 3 hours to picton on the south island - enough to blow your mind!
We slept the majority of the way arriving at around midday where we joined our new magic bus, all the seats were taken and I was left sitting next to our douche bag of a bus driver who decided to take the mickey out of me throughout the journey on the microphone do the whole bus could hear- my enthusiasm for the magic bus was diminishing rapidly!
We stopped along the way at a winery for some wine tasting- after the debauchery of Mendoza we decided to sit this one out and instead ate our way through the free bread and chutney samples in the next room- crazy!
Finally we arrived in nelson - the gateway town to the Abel tasman national park. We checked into our best hostel to date which gave us free noodles, wifi and homemade soup every day and went for a walk into town. That evening we just hung out at the hostel, getting an early night before another early start the following day.
When we got up it was still dark abs very cold, we tried to warm ourselves in the kitchen and ate some breakfast, we got a little confused as to what was included and what wasn't and almost stole some people's eggs until they asked for them back!
We got picked up and driven an hour or so out to the park, on the way our guide was involved in a little altercation with another driver, our guide asked the other driver a question starting with the typical kiwi greeting of hey bro, the other driver then responded - I'm not your bro, I hate being called bro, I'm Steve but don't ever speak to me again!
Anyway we soon made it to the kayak offices and got ourselves kitted up and practised getting into our kayaks and fixing our very attractive spray skirts to the kayak, then we were on our way in a big tractor out towards the sea. We had another quick demonstration of how to paddle and then it was time to get in, I was at the back and in control of the steering and tai was navigator at the front. After zigzagging our way out to sea we soon got the hang of kayaking in a straight line- almost!
It was a beautiful clear day and the sea was really calm. We paddled past empty isolated beaches surrounded by lush green forest, it was so nice and peaceful. We stopped at one point and were told to listen to the birds, we only heard maybe one or two tweets and thought it wasn't particularly impressive, then the guy told us it was because there were predators on the mainland which eat all the birds. There was an island out to sea a little way and we made out way out there, water taxis sped past a couple of times creating loads of waves which we had to try and balance across. When we got to the island the sound of the birds was incredible as the department of conservation works really hard to keep it predator free.
We kayaked along the shoreline and passed seals laying in the sun on the rocks, we got to a little rock pool where there were seal pups about 3 months old learning to swim, playing and jumping over each other, every now and again they would notice us and stop and watch us for a whole before getting bored and continuing to play.
We then made our way back to the mainland and kayaked up onto the beach where we stopped for lunch. The vegetarian option normally consists of cheese sandwiches or omelette cooked in the morning so it's cold by the time lunch comes, we were really surprised when our guide got out a little frying pan and started making falafel. We sat on this isolated beach and ate a delicious lunch followed by homemade chocolate cake. Soon enough and with very full bellies we had to began our walk back. The walk was around 11km, we climbed a little at the beginning and walked along the ridge of the hills with sea either side before following the path down into the jungle where we crossed rivers and streams under the canopy of the trees. It was truly beautiful and before we knew it we were back at the centre and getting our lift back to nelson.
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