Friday, 22 January 2016

NZ: Nelson & Abel Tasman

Oh my gosh can we just take a minute to talk about SAND FLIES.  How no one I know who's been to New Zealand (Lisa, Mark, Amy, Sepha - I am looking at you!!!) has mentioned them I don't know. They're EVERYWHERE and their bites are horrible and so itchy. I think they're almost worse that mosquitos as they're silent so you can't feel or hear them on you.  I am currently covered in bites and itching like mad. Argh!!

Anyway back to the blog.....the drive from Picton to Nelson went without incident though I was hoping for slightly more entertainment from the people I was giving lifts to.  Maybe I should make that more clear next time when I give people lifts!!  I was expecting car snacks, facts and pop quizzes.

At my new hostel, the owner gave me a choice of rooms, I could bunk with 2 german boys, 3 german girls or a german girl, an american girl and an english girl. I went for the latter.  He gave me a tour and told me that every day at 5.30pm they all go to the wharf and jump off it into the sea, so I joined them for that too, then played many rounds of pool (I have got really good!!! (update - I played the following day and I was terrible)).  The owner is so nice, he even looked at my car and thinks it is fine and there's nothing to worry about so that's good (update, i have realised it uses nearly a whole tank of petrol for a 4 hour drive when my friend's car used 1/4, when I lock it the back door makes a weird noise, and it didn't start this morning)

The following day I finally received my IRD number which means I can get paid properly when I find a job, and took a walk to the alleged geographical centre of New Zealand - this is the spot they decided was 'zero zero' when doing the first trigonometrical surveys.  At the top I bumped into the girl I had given a lift to the following day, and Holly, who was staying at my hostel in Picton.  I ended up spending a very pleasant afternoon with her and her hostel friend Becca, we got caught in a downpour and ended up in a vegetarian restaurant in Nelson before slopping back to our respective hostels to get warm and dry.

the view from the centre of new zealand's quite pretty on one side but not so much on the other. 

The next day I pootered about and ate a stuffed sausage.  I bought it out of curiosity but then I thought 'what the f*** am I doing eating this' - it's a poor quality meat sausage sliced open, stuffed with cold mashed potato and topped with cheese and tomato sauce.  i don't know why i do these things sometimes.

Marcus (the hostel owner) looked at my car again and gave me some stuff to stop one of the many oil leaks I have and cleaned my throttle filter (it doesn't seem to have made much difference but it's nice he tried, he is the loveliest person!) then made my way down to Motueka where I had agreed to hike some of the Abel Tasman walk with John, a guy I met in the Picton hostel.  We spent a nice afternoon chilling at Kaiteriteri beach with beer and grub, and then had a bit of a mare with accommodation, his airbnb host wouldn't pick up the phone to let him in, I missed my check in time at my hostel because we spent too long at the beach, so we ended up in a very lovely motel room with a gorgeous view overlooking a kiwi farm.

We woke up to glorious weather, got the water taxi to Barks Bay on the Abel Tasman Trail, and began the 26.6km walk back to Maharau.  It is a lovely coastal walk, on the one side you're surrounded by almost jungle like forest, and the other side beautiful coast, however like some of the other walks I have done here, it just didn't wow me.  I think I want something more wild and less manufactured, something where you have to make your own trail because it's remote and isn't often walked.

We saw some black sea birds who were very cute, a lot of the birds here don't have any natural predators and as such are quite tame and you can get really close to them.

The sand on the beach is amazing, it is very glittery. I took a photo but I don't think it shows up very well.

Split apple rock

a mummy Torea and her baby bird

on one part of the walk you have to go through a river and then the river bed

Having had a nightmare getting accommodation the previous day, that evening was super easy and we had the backpacker lodge at the campsite all to ourselves!! My cooking skills have got pretty creative - in the absence of any cooking oil I have resorted to poaching onions and they come out quite nice really, plus the watery oniony leftover makes quite a nice sauce.

Today we drove a really long way and the roads are really windy (as in winding, not blowy) and really beautiful and I was equally happy and equally annoyed at the windyness and the fact you have to concentrate so much. No wonder everyone has automatics here!  We drove from Motueka to Greymouth, via a pitstop at the seal colony at Cape Foulwind which was great - I felt like I was at a free zoo.  John was following me and suddenly he wasn't behind me in the car any more, so I pulled over to wait for him and he turns up with a girl in his car - turns out the girls in the car behind him were bored and flashed him to stop, and then one rode with him to break up the boredom. Backpackers aye!!!

the Janie Seddon shipwreck off Motueka beach

Playing Monopoly Deal in the sun

Anyway the seals are very camouflaged and hard to spot, and at first I thought there weren't any seals, but then you look a bit closer and can see loads flopping about on the rocks.   See if you can spot any in the picture above!!!  It's almost a shame I sold my old camera as the zoom would have picked up some super pics. ah well.

We also stopped at Punakaiki, where there are some really awesome cliffs and rocks with stratas in them (they call them 'the pancake rocks'). I do love rocks and erosion and stuff.  There's also a cavern so we went in, John is well prepared and happened to have two head torches!!! He loves caving and all that sort of stuff whereas I was tentatively tiptoeing in it and imagining what would happen should an earthquake happen right that very minute and our chances of survival, and whether we'd die from crushing or just plain old suffocation....

The last part of the drive from Punakaiki is beautiful - lush mountainous rainforest to your left, and beautiful wild coast to your right.  I had a smile on my face the whole way down.  I also never expected to see rainforest in New Zealand, I thought it was all just really big tall mountains and would be like a bigger version of Snowdonia. I am very wrong!

Tonight we are crashing in another airbnb as it was cheaper than a hostel bed each, but the bed is tiny and we will be very squished. I am getting very lax about my sleeping quarters these days!  We are then heading down to Franz Josef for a few days before splitting ways for my next adventure...


  1. I never met one sandfly!!! It sounds like you are having the best time - keep the blogs coming please!! Love you xxxxxxxxxxxx

  2. I really want to try the hot dog stuffed with cheese and mash. Sounds absolutely amazing! Xxxx


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