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Published: October 25th 2009
13th October - Greymouth to Nelson.
This morning we left a very grey and cloudy Greymouth and started making our way up towards Nelson along the surf-pounded Tasman Sea coastline. It’s one of the planets 10 best road trips according to the Lonely Planet Blue List! Our first stop was Punakaiki & the famous Pancake Rocks and Blowholes. The limestone has formed into what looks like piles of thick pancakes & if caught at the right time of day the sea surges into caverns and booms menacingly through blowholes. We continued North and took a slight detour off the highway to Cape Foulwind & the Tauranga Bay Seal Colony. A 2hr walk took us past the smelly Seal colony and to the lighthouse. It was then a non-stop journey pretty much through to our camp in Nelson.
14th October- Nelson to Abel Tasman National Park
We woke to a very dark, wet & Nelson! We were going to have a day or two in the City, but thought we’d make the most of the gloomy day & spend it driving out to Abel Tasman National Park. We made a quick stop on route to a DVD rental shop & hired three movies (Doubt, Milk & Reservation Road) to help keep us occupied as it was still pouring with rain! We rocked up to our chosen camp for the night only to find it was closed due to flooding! So we headed back to find another & settled in for the evening in a nicer camp on the beach and watched “Doubt” in the comfort of our Jucy.
15th October- Abel Tasman National Park
Sunshine greeted us this morning and so after breakfast we headed into the National Park for the day. Whilst it was a lovely warm sunny morning, neither of us were tempted with kayaking around the bays! So we drove to Totaranui and walked for a couple of hours along the coastal route though Goat Bay to Waiharakeke Bay. We stopped for lunch in the camp site before heading back to
16th October- Abel Tasman National Park to Nelson
After a slightly sleepless night due to rain all night, we woke to some sunshine. We dropped the DVD’s off & headed East back towards Nelson, stopping on route at Marahau, which is the main gateway to the National Park. We parked & went for a short walk to Sandy Bay. Again, neither of us were tempted with hiring Kayaks & getting out on the cold water! Apparently, on a gorgeous summers day you can see more towels on the beach then the beautiful golden sand & you can certainly see why! After out little walk (you can spend three to five days walking the 51km coastal track through bush overlooking golden beaches lapped by gleaming azure water) we continued our journey back to Nelson. Our chosen camp spot had an 18-hole miniature golf course which we duly killed a couple of hours playing, acting like 5yr olds to boot! Steve kicked my arse, like he has done at cards & chess throughout this trip!!
17th October- Nelson to Picton
We woke again to a gloomy, grey day over Nelson and once we’d eaten & showered we drove into the City & parked up for a stroll. Not a great deal on offer on a wet day, so we got Starbucks take-away & started the drive across to Picton driving through the Marlborough Sounds. The winding road offered beautiful views of the Sounds, but unfortunately the weather didn’t! We quickly filled up with fuel ready for the ferry journey tomorrow morning across to Wellington & setup camp for the night.
18th October- Picton to Wellington via the Interislander Ferry
Alarm buzzed at 7am as we had a 10am ferry crossing, which upon check-in turned out to be running 45mins late - We could have had an extra half hour in bed!! The crossing was pretty rough & bumpy and I was feeling quite sea-sick (chuck!)! Complete contrast to the lovely smooth crossing we had four weeks earlier! Once we finally docked in Wellington, we drove into the City, parked up for the afternoon and checked out the Ta Papa museum for a couple of hours, looking in at the Coleuses Squid exhibit,which is the only one of it’s kind in the world! The huge beast (almost 5m) was caught in the Antarctic by Kiwi fisherman & donated to the museum. Once boredom kicked in we headed out of a very cold & windy Wellington and started out journey to Lake Taupo, stopping in Wanganui for the night.
19h October- Waingui to Lake Taupo
Glorious sunshine greeted us this morning - Yay! Straight on the road after breakfast for Lake Taupo, stopping first at Raukawe Falls for a quick photo and then at Tongariro National Park. Our plan had been to tackle the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, which is reportedly New Zealand’s best one day hike. So we thought it a good idea to check out weather conditions for next few days etc. Unfortunately the beautiful sunshine wasn’t planning on staying around, with high winds, rain & snow due!! Not ideal conditions for an alpine crossing over Mt Tongariro! Such a shame! We went for a short walk to get some cool views of Mt Ngauruhoe, better known as Mt Doom in the Lord of the Ring movies. Slightly disappointed we couldn’t do the Tongariro crossing we headed out of the National Park & onto Lake Taupo, arriving early evening with the sun setting over the lake.
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