Published: January 21st 2008January 21st 2008
Awesome is a word I use far too often. However, it perfectly describes the trip Bharti & I just did. A three day kayak trip along the coast of the Abel Tasman National Park. Truly awesome.
But I should start at the beginning.
Oh, but before I start. I am just a wee bit closer to being a proper local. I now have a NZ driving license. If you could see the way some of the idiots drive around here, you'd know why I really begrudged the $90 it cost me!!
Bharti arrived in Wellington on a perfectly calm & quiet evening. The next day as we went on a mission across town to the airport we got drenched in torrential rain. Hadn't seen anything like it for months.
It was just the same when we arrived in Nelson. At this point we slightly dubious about spending the forthcoming days in an wee little kayak by day and wee little tent by night.
There was only one thing for it - book a wine tour with Bay Tours
.So that was Wednesday taken care of. Thankfully it finally stopped raining and we had a lovely
day been driven around 4 wineries and a brewery.
Thursday we headed off to join our kayak trip in Motueka. We had booked on a three day guided and catered trip. It turned out that we were the only ones doing the three day trip, although we had a variety of day trippers join us on days one and two.
Catered and guided was definitely the way to go. We had amazing food at very regular intervals and stories about the history of Maori, New Zealand and the Abel Tasman area, not to mention all the wildlife we were seeing along the way.
We camped at the DOC campsites that are along the coastal path. Night one at Anchorage and night two at Onetahuti. They are just so tranquil and beautiful. They seem a million miles away from the city life most of us are used to.
Now, every adventure needs a story. And here's ours (for this particular trip!):
On our way in to Onetahuti, Bharti and I spiced things up a bit and managed to flip our kayak as we surfed in to the beach! It was quite skillful, since we had the biggest and
most stable boat there is! Needless to say, no damage was done to us, our stuff or the boat. It was a pure comedy moment that we managed to share with an audience of about 30!
An hour or so later, after a swim, wash and change in to dry clothes, we were sat havin' a cuppa on the beach (as you do) when one of the water taxi drivers got all excited about dolphins. We could kinda' see them in the distance and thought "that's nice". Next thing we know Kyle is bundling us back in to our boats and we are off (soaked, in the only dry clothes we have). Well, it was amazing. We were the only two boats in the bay and we were completely surrounded by a huge pod of dolphins. They were everywhere. We just sat bobbing about, slowly following them as they played and swam about. It was a magical moment that lasted about 45 minutes. We were all trippin' on this for the rest of the night.
Our third day started out a bit cloudy & blustery. Kyle gave us the option of a) hanging out on the beach &
seeing what the weather did, b) heading back the way we had come as it was a bit more sheltered, or c) heading further north past some exposed headland with the possibility of more adventures & wildlife. No contest. Option C every time! Well worth it as it was an amazing last day. Heaps of seals to have a look at and some beautiful little spots including Shag harbour, which is so tranquil. It has a very happy feel and lots of Maori history. Anchor rock is where they used to moor their wakas. I claimed Canoe Bay as my 'C' place. It was where we had lunch and had a swim before the final leg of the trip to Awaroa Beach. Awaroa Lodge is a very fancy hotel, where they serve not only a nice cold Monteith's, but also the best hot chocolate in the world.
The Sea Kayak Company
are a great outfit and I would wholeheartedly recommend them to anyone.
Kyle, our guide, had told us about his brother Jared who has a wood carving business Native Woodcraft
in Dannevirke. Well, I needed a 'D' place, so after merry x-mas Bharti
& I headed off on another mini adventure. Jared gave us a tour of the factory and showed us how each step of the process is done. His work is in most of the tourist shops, as well as Kirks, the big, fancy Wellington department store. It's a family run business, so if you are looking for kiwi souvenirs, make sure they are his!
From Dannevirke we headed back down SH2 to Martinborough, where we were going to camp for the night. There's a great little camp site there, that I had stayed a when I was adventuring with Vera the van a couple of years ago. Martinborough is only a diddy little place and I think I know it quite well, so how we managed to get lost coming back from the pub, I have no idea! Anyway, as I said, every trip needs an adventure!! It only took us about half an hour. No harm done!
The next day we headed down to Cape Palliser, which is the southern most point of the North Island and home to a lighthouse. Stunning views make the climb up the 280 (or so, who's counting?) steps well worth it.
On the way you pass through Ngawi, which is a fishing village, famous for the bulldozers that pull the boats out of the water & on to the beach. There's no harbour for them to moor, so it's a genius plan really.
The last leg of the trip was a walk through the bush at Putangirua Pinnacles. A fairly decent trek with plenty of opportunity to try & get the perfect fern photo. I am still trying, not being happy with my efforts on the day.
And then came new year's eve! We had tickets for The Big Drop Off. A concert down on the waterfront featuring Fat Freddy's Drop & Shapeshifter. Two great wellington bands. Well, it promised to be big and it was a great night. We eventually crawled home just before 5. Which seemed like a great time to phone friends in England. Apparently I did make sense & sounded remarkably sober, considering!!
And that, I think is about all we managed to get up to! The next time Bharti comes to visit, we are planning, amongst other things, to trek the Queen Charlotte track. Can't wait!!
I love having visitors as it
gives me a great excuse to show off all my favorite spots and the opportunity to discover new ones. So remember, you are always welcome & I look forward to showing you around!
Take care & all the best for 2008.
Oooh, you may have noticed - no x-mas cards this year and that's the way it's going to stay. I am not a huge fan of x-mas and so it seems very hypocritical. Also, I can't abide the commercialism & the waste.
There are more photos below