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Published: March 2nd 2008
After leaving Franz Josef our bus took us further up the West Coast and eventually to Nelson. On the way we stopped at a couple of places - the best being the Pancake Rocks! Nicely eroded rocks in the shape of stacks of pancakes - hence the name! Will stick some pics up for you to see... Abel Tasman National Park
Nelson itself was quite nice - the most populated place we'd been to for a while! There are shops and everything! We stayed for two nights before heading for The Abel Tasman National Park... it didn't take long to get there and we soon arrived in Marahau where we were staying in a 'luxury dorm tent'!! Basically a semi-permanent tent with beds! It was one of the nicest places we've stayed! The weather probably helped - the first day we arrived it was really sunny and warm! We wandered along to the beach at Marahau - which had appeared since we'd driven past on the bus - the bay is really shallow and the tide falls away quite substantially revealing a huge beach at low tide! We chilled out on the beach for a bit, a little
awe struck by the colour of the water vs the sand, and the mini sand islands formed by dips in the sand and freshwater streams flowing out to sea. See photos... ...sea kayaking! 😊
The following day we went sea kayaking! It was great fun! We paddled our yellow two-woman kayak for about 2 and a half hours along the coast... we came across lots of secluded beaches only accessible by boat, paddled our kayak into a cove and reversed out, and eventually parked up (technical kayaking term!) on a little beach, where our instructor set about making us a hot chocolate and provided us with ginger nut biscuits! We then walked along a track for about half an hour until we reached Anchorage bay. Here we jumped on the sea shuttle which took us for a scenic boat ride further along the coast, deeper into the national park. We passed Tonga Island, famous for its seals, and many other beaches where other passengers jumped on and off. We stayed on the boat which eventually brought us back to Cochille Beach where we then walked back to Marahau. It was a fantastic way to see the national park!
Fortunately for us the hostel had made a mistake with the booking so we were upgraded to a twin room inside the building! - so it was nice to spread out a little and not have to hike across a field to the loo, especially as the weather had now turned and torrential rain set in for the night and following day... we then got the bus back to Nelson for the night... Kaikoura
The following morning was another early start to catch the bus to Kaikoura... where we arrived at about lunch time. We checked into our room at 'Dusky Lodge' and then wandered back into the town. We had a bit of a walk along the pebble beach and around the coastline of the peninsula, stopped for a bit to watch some surfers, a little later for a drink and then again to look at some interesting almost volcanic looking rocks! Before heading back into town. We sat on the beach for a bit, mesmerised by the sea which was hammering at the beach in a pretty violent way! The view of the mountains from here was amazing with mist from the sea creeping inland in
front of them... got a few photos of that view i think... Whale Watch! 😊
The next day was an even earlier start! We were up at 5.30am and ready for our Whale watching experience! The sun was still rising as we walked to the whale watch centre and it was a little chilly to say the least! We had our fingers crossed that the trip would be running because the previous day's trips were cancelled.... luckily it was on, so we grabbed some breakfast... wondering whether the 'severe sea sickness warning' they were giving out was going to be accurate!! A bus took us to where the boat was and on we got. We set off out to sea and were introduced to the crew which included the whale spotting man and someone designated to deal with sea sick passengers!! A little ominous we thought! Anyway - it was actually really calm and the swell wasn't too bad at all - i only noticed one slightly green looking person! We hadn't been out long before our first sperm whale was spotted in the distance so we headed over to where it was... and there it was, just
sitting (if whales sit!) on the surface spouting air out of its blowhole every now and again! Being experts the crew could tell when it was about to dive, so we got our cameras ready and sure enough down it went and up came its tail as it disappeared - for the perfect photo! Once it had gone we head off in another direction and very soon another whale was spotted, so we got closer to watch. Once again we were poised and ready for it to dive - see photos! Then a third was spotted... and the procedure repeated - although we weren't allowed to get that close as there was already another boat there and plane flying overhead! Dusky Dolphins! 😊
We began heading back to shore... on the way we came across loads of Dusky Dolphins! They were swimming in groups and jumping out of the water so close to the boat! The boat stopped for a while so we could watch the Dolphins playing - it really was amazing!! Another one of our highlight days! Onward to Wellington...
The following morning we started our journey up to the North Island, via Picton, where
we got on the Interislander ferry bound for Wellington. It was a surprisingly picturesque ferry journey! Far more interesting than going over to France! The first hour we sailed out along the Marlborough Sounds, the second hour was open sea and the third hour we were approaching Wellington in the North Island...
Love Victoria and Selina xxx
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