Published: February 12th 2006December 27th 2005
Strike a pose!
L-R, Helen, Aileen, Megan and Sam
As usual I'm running behind with my blogs again!! Here's the update on our xmas adventures!!
This Christmas was the first one that I have spent abroad and in the sunshine - and it was fab! The trip didn't start too well for Aileen, Helen and I who got thoroughly ripped off with the taxi ride to Welly airport (two english and a scot obviously sounded more like tourists than locals!), but that was more than made up for by the lovely taxi driver we had when we arrived in Nelson - he took us the scenic route to our hostel and gave us a running commentary on local sights and history as we drove along!!
As the seven of us were all arriving at different times we'd decided that Ails, Helen and I would be chief shoppers for the Xmas and Heaphy part of our trip. We checked in at the hostel, just about had time for some free coloured water - supposed to be soup but the down side of being at the end of the queue meant all the nice chuncky veggies had gone :0( - and then we were off to Woolworths. Woolworths here is
very different to the one back in Blightly which confused me to start with - think more Tesco's or Sainsburys than the UK Woolys. After a speedy shop and some $300 later (we were going to be eating well on this trip!) we found our second nice taxi driver of the day!!! He was off duty but Helen and Ails managed to persuade him to come back on duty and drop us off on his way home! When we got back to the hostel Megan had arrived on the later flight from Welly and Sam had arrived from Queenstown. Wierdly enough we'd arrived separately but all had the same sweet taxi driver from the airport!! It was great to see Sam again - we've both been in NZ sinze April but apart from our mini Northland road trip when we first arrived I've not seen her since. We've had lots of texts, emails and the odd phone call to keep in touch with all the latest gossip but it really felt like I'd only seen her last week when we met again!
Next morning (Christmas eve!!!) was an early start - the bus came at 6.15 to pick us
up. A few hours later, a lovely drive up through Golden Bay and over the Takaka Hill and we arrived at Sommerset House in Collingwood. It was great to be back here - I'd spent a great month woofing here when I first arrived in NZ and whilst a few things had changed much was just the same. Joy, the golden labrador, was bigger but just the same bundle of trouble and it was great to catch up with Chris and finally meet his partner Hiromi. After a quick unpack we went down to the beach to relax. The great thing about being this far up along Golden Bay is that where Abel Tasman and surrounding areas would have been packed at this time of year we still managed to have the beach here all to ourselves. Later that aftrenoon the rest of our group arrived - Pam and her friend Rachel. I gave them the five minute tour of Collingwood (two streets really don't take that long!) and we visited the Rosy Glow Chocolate shop (hand made chocolates - yoummmmy!). We met the others back at the hostel and spent the rest of the day relaxing in the sun,
reading magazines and drinking vino. Heaven :0)
Christmas day got off to a great start with a champange breakfast complete with fresh stawberries, kiwi fruit and croissants! we followed this up with a Secret Santa Xmas pressie game. So i've done Secret Santa at work many times before but this game was a new one on me - the first person opens a present... but the next person decides whether they want to take what the first person got or open a new present... and so it goes on.... It was hilarious!
The weather wasn't too good on Xmas day but we drove up to Wharaiki Beach and managed to get there before the rain started. This is still one of my favourtie paces in NZ - watching the seals play in the sea, the harsh waves and windswept weather of the west coast and best of all the lack of people. The rain started as we left so we had our picnic lunch sheltered underneath the veranda of the closed cafe at Farewell Spit. Xmas dinner was quite unlike any other I've had before. Everyone in the hostel was invited and the hostel owners put on a
huge buffet dinner with salads, sushi, meats and lots of deserts!! Yum! Far too much food and vino later we settled down with some of the other guests at the hostel for some entertaining card games! With kiwi's, english, scots, germans, swiss, french and japanese round the table it was a truly international Xmas!!
Boxing day was another nice relaxing day - and sunny too! We drove up to Cape Farewell and walked from there along to Pillar Point - it only took an hour and was a nice little 'warm up walk' for the Heaphy track ahead of us! At Pillar Point Megan and I walked back to pick up the cars whilst the others walked on to Puponga at the base of Farewell Spit. We drove round and met them there for another picnic lunch at the closed cafe on Farewell Spit.... this time in the sun rather than the pouring rain!! Megan and I then went for a drive along Westhaven Inlet whilst the others went back to the hostel. This was the last trip I did when I was here before so it was nice to do it again on our last day here at
Relaxing back at the hostel
L-R Helen, Megan, Aileen, Sam
Next up.... farewell to Collingwood, Pam and Rachel, hello to Caroline and the start of the Heaphy Track..
There are more photos below