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Published: February 11th 2016
What an experience the sea kayaking was. Funny my shoulders aren't aching like I thought, so must be getting stronger.
The next day drove to Collingwood a 2 hour drive over hair raising mountains, with steep gulleys and no barriers. Vertigo kept creeping in, but I wasn't driving. I had to do the drive back though. Bends at 15k nearly every few seconds. The mountain road goes up horizontal, and so does the road down, but curves all the way. In the middle of this journey was a small hamlet called Takaka, a buzzing, lively community that obviously attracted the travellers judging by the number of bars with jamming music sessions. Collingwood was at the start of Golden Bay, massive bay, and not a soul in sight after walking nearly an hour each way.
Headed back to Takaka and drove approx 10k to the beach. Again what a find, in the middle of nowhere all this accommodation right on a remote beach. A good surf so jumped around in the waves and had a swim. Unfortunately not staying there, had to get back to the backpackers in Marahau as booked there for a week.
day, hired the sea kayak, but this time independently. Again the safety briefing was a good hour, but when we kayaked out and stopped at this little bay, the surf/wind had got up and it was quite an experience to jump back in The kayak, pull on your skirt (safety cover) and paddle out, very quickly before the sea swamped the kayak. Safety briefing works. Took a picnic of boned lamb that I had bbq the night before, with salad and bread rolls, and a flask of coffee. Kayaked around Split apple bay - then kayaked back to Marahau which by that time the wind was northerly against us, which meant paddle into the high waves and go out quite a way into the ocean, then turn and the winds and tide push you back to land. Stopped on a sandbank/spit in this lagoon and went looking for Paua shells.
Next day drove to Tasman golf club, can play golf for 20 dollars for as long as you want to. The views are amazing, and the course extremely hilly. I didn't play, and glad I didn't, the course played where you couldn't see where your ball went.
last day in the Abel Tasman decided to keep local and walked to Apple Bay. We had spotted this a few days ago on the kayak, and after a good hour and a half got there. It was a long sand spit and only one picnic bench on it. Perfect. Had a good swim and a picnic.
Back before happy hour, so spent 15 minutes or so watching the kayaks coming in. A flare went off, grabbed the monocular (binocular) and although the flare had gone off, they kept it low. A water taxi and other kayaks raced over to them. Turned out the poor guy had a bee under his kayak skirt and it had stung him on his testicle!!!! Panic had obviously set in, as theses flares are only used in an emergency.
Next day Nelson. Left just before 9am, but turned back twice as had left things behind...Then the accommodation had double booked so had to stay in the managers unit, got a good discount. Went over to Rabbit Island, tried their pinot wines, and truly great. The beach area had wood fired bbq everywhere, a beautiful beach with a surf.
Now Sunday and
started to drive back to Picton for the ferry over to Wellington. Called in at Havelock, famous for the green lip mussels, was going to do a boat trip but the weather had turned so decided to do a walk on the Queen Charlotte Track. Again amazing views. Had a fish and chip meal that night of pearl shark and blue cod, and ate on the shore, weather extremely warm 27 at 7pm.
Took a day trip over to Lochmara, the last day on the South Island. On here you had free use of the kayaks, flying fox/zip wire, nature walks and feeding eels and love birds. Met the owner who is still very hands on, ferrying the water taxi, its about 15 minutes away. However, and unfortunately he is not interested in doing a house swap for a few weeks!!! No matter how hard we tried to persuade him.
Back in Picton noticed a lot of classic American and British cars. These are used for the tourists to take around the wineries. Made friends with the guy who actually upholstered these, so next time.
Now in New Plymouth and today is Thursday. Had a god ferry
trip over, though Sue managed to eat some nuts or maybe heat stroke and threw up for half of the crossing.. It takes you a good hour and a half cruising through the Marlborough Sounds to the open ocean, very scenic. Stopped over at Barbara and Johns outside of Wellington, and arrived in New Plymouth yesterday. Mount Egmnot at nearly 3000m has a conical shape, drove up to the visitor centre and did a walk up to the look out, near vertical steps for a good half hour. Last erupted 1755 and expected to erupt every 300 years. Staying at an air Bnb, the views from the deck are spectacular overlooking the Tasman Sea, and they are never here. Just gave us a key and that was that. Extremely trusting.
Tomorrow spending 3 nights in Rotorua, then back up to Snells Beach staying with 'The Triffids' until we leave NZ on the 29th. Time has gone really quick here, and loved every minute. Including the backpackers accommodation!!!!
Till next time
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