Published: November 28th 2006November 26th 2006
Farewell Spit Sunset
The northwest tip of the South Island - from this viewpoint I could see the long sand bar that stretched out with the Tasman Sea on the west and Cook Straight on the east.
I hope Thanksgiving was pleasant and relaxing for everyone. I spent the day around a glacier in Franz Josef and made pasta for dinner :)
So I kicked off my travels with a flight over a week ago to Nelson, in the northern part of the south island. Here lies the 'geographical center' of NZ. It is also home to the famous jewelry designer Yens Jansen, who created the 'one ring' for the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
The cosy town is pumped with arts, foods and crafts of all sorts, especially Saturday mornings at one of the most incredible flea markets. My airport taxi driver explained that many Kiwis from Auckland fly in for the morning in order to browse the market before flying back that afternoon...so you can imagine.
From there I met a German chick named Steffi, yes, another one.... who was heading the same way- west, up and past the Abel Tasman National Park. So I jumped in her car to discover one of the most serene untouched places I have ever seen. Due to the weather we had to cut our time up north short. After a few unbelievable hikes to waterfalls and among
Center of NZ
This object points to the 'exact center'...the town of Nelson is in the distance. Looking west, you can see the land belonging to the Abel Tasman National Park across the water.
strange rock and cave formations, we decided at 7:30pm to make the hour long drive to reach the northern most tip of the south island...the Farewell Spit, (since it would be our only chance to do so). Destiny brought us there because we reached the lookout just as the sun began to fall and witnessed the most breathtaking sunset ever. What a perfect gift at the end of a day...
The next morning we woke early to cruise the pristine crystal blue waters around Abel Tasman in kayaks. The bird life and smooth sand could have kept me there a few more days, but alas, it was time to head west.
On the west coast we found much rain and jungle with it. The 'pancake rocks' bellow and blow water into the air at high tide making a sound comparable to that of the drums from Mordor.
In Franz Josef, we experienced some of the most intense rain totally give way to the brightest sunniest sky that beamed down on the glacier and nearby Tasman Sea. The hikes were the wettest and mossiest I have ever seen, giving the feeling that if you stood in one spot
The 'one' ring!!
The prototype, which they let you hold...the workshop of Jens where it was designed and created by him and his son, is in the background.
long enough the moss might grow right over your feet and keep you there forever. Like the world below the sea, these forests seemed to also have their own world.
The drives.... usually thought to be tedious, are just as much a part of the whole experience of the south island as the hiking and exploring is. We have just arrived in Wanaka, inland and towards the south of this island, but those pictures, as well as the ones of me bungee-ing off the highest canyon jump in the world, (in 2 days time) will have to be in the next entry.
I hope this finds everyone well. Cheers.
There are more photos below