We’re back from our first major road trip of the South Island and it really was alot of fun. I spend this morning uploading and sorting through the 377 pictures Dad took this week and put them in more managable albums. The weather was warm and sunny for our trip to the Nelson area, but it is cold and rainy here in Christchurch. We even had to pull out the heaters, which is not so fun considering its SUMMER, but it helps us natives of the northern hemisphere feel like Christmas. Anyway, here’s the account of our last week. This will definitely be a long post, but the pictures are well worth looking through.
Christchurch to Kaiteriteri via Kaikoura
We left Christchurch on 17 Dec and drove up the coast through Kaikoura to Nelson. We stopped in Kaikoura for lunch. We didn’t get to see much of the town since it was drizzling and generally yucky (weatherwise that is, Kaikoura itself isn’t yucky). Dad and Al picked out two crayfish at a roadside vendor just north of Kaikoura. We decided to save these to eat with Linda and John, Al’s aunt and uncle, who we would be staying with in Nelson that night. Linda and John are always the most welcoming and gracious hosts, so its nice to share this New Zealand delicacy.
We stopped at two vinyards before Nelson and I was pretty disappointed with the tastings. All the wines tasted too young, so this may not be the best time of year for tastings. When we arrived in Nelson, Linda and John took us to see their new house, currently in construction, and it is absolutely gorgeous. Then we returned to their current home for a crayfish appetizer and a delicious barbeque dinner. We’re talking steaks that just melt in your mouth. Dinner lasted til pretty late in the evening, we felt very Spanish eating so late into the night! So after dinner we went to straight to bed.
The next morning we had a typical kiwi breakfast of yogurt and muesli with coffee and juice. Dad tried Marmite for the first time. He like it and his first thought was that it would go good with eggs. I don’t think that’s typical kiwi, but maybe that could catch on. We left Nelson for Kaiteriteri to stay the night at a motor camp on the beach before starting our Abel Tasman tramp. Its a really beautiful and cozy spot, still mainly frequented by kiwi holidayers and I’ll just let the pictures do the talking there.
Abel Tasman National Park
Our hike on the Abel Tasman started at the water taxi. The water taxi is a great way to see the park from the perspective of sea to coastline, then once you start hiking you see coastline to sea. We arrived at Awaroa at about 12:30 and hiked about an hour to Onetahuti for lunch. Then it was about 3 to 3:30 hours to our hut at Bark Bay. Mom was pretty tired so she laid down for a rest and Dad Al and I went out and sat on the beach. Well, I laid on the beach and rested my eyes while Dad and Al threw our little packable frisbee. Later we ate dinner, which consisted of dehydrated backpacker meals and sipped on some peach schnapps that we picked up outside of Nelson. We all went to bed pretty early that night. Al and I had to sleep on a long pad with five other people, then there was a long bunk over us with seven more people. Mom and Dad stayed in a more traditional style bunk bed (singles) with a family of four from Nelson.
We headed out before 8AM the next morning as we were determined to get to our next hut early enough to get first choice of sleeping arrangements. It was a fairly long day. It took about 4-5 hours total (including breaks) to get to the Anchorage hut. The terrain was tough but it was beautiful, so well worth it. We were the first ones to reach the hut, making it there around lunchtime. We spent the rest of the day lounging, Dad played alittle guitar, we played bard games, and mostly laid out at the beach. Al and I took a side trip to a nearby bay in the afternoon and napped on the beach there for a while. The family we met at the Bark Bay hut stayed at the Anchorage hut as well. The sleeping arrangements at the huts are pretty weird. At Anchorage there was only the long flat planks that slept six people on a level and you really need ear plugs to get a good nights sleep. All night there is a concert of snoring and rustling from various people in the room.
We left later in the morning on the last day. It was the easiest day terrain wise. Once we hike up from Achorage the trail stayed mostly flat as it followed the ridges towards Marahau. We walked out of the park and went immediately to the Park Cafe for the best tasting beers ever and some really good food. We went back to Kaiteriteri to shower and rest. We all were in bed before 7:00 that night, and I hate to say that it probably was more like 6:00. I think we slept about 12-14 hours that night, even after being awoken by a loud and crashing hail storm around 11:00PM.
Home to Christchurch via Lewis Pass
We woke up Friday and packed up the van to head home to Christchurch. We stopped by Nelson just for a quick visit to John and Linda’s so Mom could pick up her mirror that she left. We drove home from Nelson on and inland route this time, through Lewis Pass. I prefer the scenery through the Pass more than on the coastal road through Kaikoura, but they both have their advantages (can’t get crayfish on the Lewis Pass!). We stopped at a hot springs in Maruia and it was the most wonderful and most relaxing thing we could have done. The geothermal rock pools are set in a valley, so the view from the pools is stunning. There was also a Japanese bathhouse were we could soak in the hot pools inside, and the women’s had a spa pool. We didn’t bring the camera in, but here is the web address if anyone is interested in seeing what this hot springs is like: Maruia Hot Springs. We all were very relaxed and peaceful as we left the hot springs, that is until Al pulled over so that Dad could get a picture of the valley and the van got stuck in some very thick gravel. We managed to push it out with some brute force and the rest of the drive went along without incident.
Well, that’s about it for now. Its Christmas eve morning and we are mostly lounging around today. Mom, Dad, Al, and I are having our Christmas tonight, then we have Christmas plans all day tomorrow with Al’s family. We leave the 26th for our next trip around the South Island. I’m going to take my computer on this trip so I’ll probably be able to post sometime in the middle of that trip.
We wish everyone a wonderful Christmas and it’s been great hearing from you all. Cheers and Happy Holidays!