Amazing Abel Tasman
Trip Start Nov 14, 2008
18Trip End Mar 10, 2009
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Anyway back to the more recent present!
Thursday 4th December
Writing this whilst drinking a fine drop of Pinot Gris Peregrine wine - luke warm & from a plastic tumbler sitting in our "lounge" in our posh tent on the edge of Abel Tasman National Park. Jackie is sitting in the one chair whilst I'm perched on my rucasc - the sound of cows intermittently breaks the noise of the all the various birdies tweeting away. Little super midges are biting any exposed skin so both Me & Jack are dressed in pretty much everything we own! Its a shame that all you lot are probably sleeping as despite the fact that we are in the middle of nowhere we have wifi so this would have been a great place to have skyped everyone. Its really nice having all the birds doing their summer birdsong - & only 3 weeks till christmas - whats that all about?!
Today we managed to sleep in - this is despite me being woken up by some bloke coughing his guts up in the corridor at 6am. This coughing fit was the followed by the beautiful sound of puking from the bathroom across the hall. Next said chap was out front having a ciggie & doing the same coughing. Both me & Jack had a bad nights sleep in Wellington due to the really high winds - as we were on the top floor it sounded like the roof was going to blow off at points! School girl error was that my ear plugs were lying somewhere in my rucsac down on the floor. Jackie drove yesterday so we had various fits as the ferry wouldn't let us on as soon as we arrived, then of course we were last on & the crowning moment was that we were put on the train deck & jack had to reverse on - all highly amusing! Passed some of the famous Marlborough vineyards on the way here - really pretty with mountains in the background, vineyards in the foreground & then a very turquoise sea to the right of us. Nelson is a nice wee town on the seaside - bit artsy & way too many craft shops for my liking - still its in an enviable position & is probably a really nice place to live. Have discovered a nice chain of coffee shops called Columbas. The one in Nelson is off Hardy Street on Fashion square. They do nice coffee, real Tea & also do breakfasts alongside the usual cakes etc. As breakfast was so nice we got them to pack up some lunch for us to take away. Nelson Restaurant that was nice Cafe Affair - good pizzas, pasta, stonebake meats.
The drive from Nelson to Marahua on the edge of Abel Tasman park took around an hour. This small collection of houses around the beach is really pleasant.
Had a nice walk on the infamous coast walkway. This is a 5 day hike that takes you through the national park. We only wanted to do a wee walk just to stretch the legs; anyway my legs were more than stretched as Jackie attempted to break the land speed record from Marahua to Appletree Beach! No looking at scenery or stopping to admire perhaps some of the wildlife - nope a hamstring stretching inner thigh twanging sprint took place along the path for the next 2 hours - how enjoyable!!!
Abel Tasman Kayak firm MSK, 0800 80 80 18 www.msk.net.nz will also pick you up from Nelson on their big orange bus for $25rtn. Our trip cost $315 for 2 full days kayaking, fully catered
& HB accom on aquapackers, water taxi back from Bark Bay.
Within ten minutes of our trip starting Isaac spotted a Blue Penguin. These birds are the smallest penguin in the world & also really rare so it was great to see one bobbing along in the water. We also had a couple of seals swim along side us which was also really cool.
Dinner was a BBQ with my first ever "snags" and beef steak. They had also made a fabulous vegetarian pie. There is also an honesty bar where you can help yourself to beer, wine or coke & simply write in the book what you have had & then pay the next day. You are not chained to the boat and any point Chris or one of his crew will happily take you across to the beach. The beach is only 100 or so meters away & to get back you simply stand by the stake in the beach & wave at the boat; again someone will be across in a jiffy to pick you up. The water around the boat is deep so jumping off the roof isn't an issue. Nick1 decided to jump off the roof of the boat - a brave move but I have to say he was out of the water as quick as he was in it!
The boat cant have been far off full but it didnt feel at all crowded, there was even an older couple staying in one of the doubles. Chris couldnt have been more helpful & even set up an outdoor fire thing for us all so we could sit up on the top deck watching the night time decent & the stars come out. This spot is quite amazing but several people have told us that is gets mad busy in the summer holidays (mid Dec-Feb) with over 300 kayaks on the water, loads of boats moored & water skiing etc etc. I'm so glad we got to see the place with no-one here.
Sally was our guide from Nova Scotia in Canada, Mark from N Carolina, Nadine from Germany & a chap who was half English/half Brazilian & lived in Egypt who I cant quite remember the name of! I was on steering duty so at the back of the Kayak. A very different day from the day before - much more laid back. We didn't really see any sea life at all, but we did stop at an amazing beach for lunch called Mosquito bay.
Was absolutely nackered when we got back to Nelson so it was a quick tea (complete with an attack on my feet by the victious black flies) and then into my bed for 9am.
Drive down to Franz Joseph took 6 hours & finally we arrived in the NZ that doesnt look like Scotland! We are staying at the YHA & looking down the road we can see Franz Joseph glacier - hopefully in a couple of days time we will be on the glacier looking down on the YHA!
Where I stayed