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Published: April 3rd 2016
R : We arrived in Mouteka at about 4:55pm and hadn't got a reservation for the water taxi the next day which is "essential" apparently. We decided not to call the lonely planet and leaflet's combined bluff and headed to I-site - New Zealand's national tourist information service which seems to have an office in any town that has more than a goat and two people. They booked us on the next mornings water taxi and we headed for our next Airbnb which was stunning. It was near Marahau - one of the gateway towns to Abel Tasman which can't be reached by road. It was basically a studio on the back of someone's house but it had a gorgeous deck overlooking the park and was magic with a glass of Pinot Gris we had picked up in one of the wineries. Sadly, food options were limited and we ended up on our magical evening in Mouteka KFC.
We had to get up quite early for the day in the park and we had to drive to Kaiteriteri to get the boat. The boat was filled with German and Japanese school groups and was pretty full. We were glad we
Our departure point
booked! It doesn't have a wharf so you have to walk the extendable plank to get on the boat. The boat took us to Medlands beach, which is about 1 hour 20 minutes or so along the coast which has rocky outcrops and headlands, bright orange beaches and beautiful forest. When we arrived at Medway we again walked the plank, and started our 12km stroll. It's quite forested to start with but the path takes you along the coastal track past several headlands, beautiful beaches, rivers and waterfalls. The only problem was being stuck in the trees for a bit too long so it took a while to actually get the good views, but when they did, they were awesome.
Luckily we found a bench overlooking the best view of the day. As we pulled out our picnic lunch we realised we possibly had made a mistake. Every 5 minutes or so a large group of Asian of French tourists swamped us to take photos. We battled on, but kept a firm hand on the cheese.
The walk became more coastal in the second half, going past beautiful bays and inlets, over a wooden swing bridge, and to
some pretty pools. There is a low-tide shortcut across Torrent Bay, but the tide didn't allow us (much to Cate's displeasure!) and we turned out at Anchorage beach an hour ahead of our return water taxi. Luckily we had brought the beach stuff so entrenched ourselves on the isolated stretch of beautiful strip of beach, until one man decided to choose to change right next to us, looking like he was about to join us. We joined our boat back to Kaiteriteri and stopped for a beer overlooking the beautiful ness. It's a truely stunning place.
C: After our fantastic day in Abel Tasman NP we headed for Nelson, apparently NZ's 'most liveable city'. A friend and ex colleague of mine from Cumnor moved over here with her family about a year and a half ago, settling in Richmond, just west of Nelson. She had offered us a place to stay and it was lovely to see her and have a good catch up. The next day Jane took us on a tour of the main sites of Nelson including the intriguing Founders park, a place where they've moved all the old buildings in Nelson including churches, brewery and
fire station to so that you can explore them all in one place, very handy! We also went to a stunning beach of which there are so many in this part of NZ. There are beautiful views all around the area as well as some lovely cafes, both of which we enjoyed very much. Later in the day we went to a great pub next to a slightly strange British themed housing estate (lots of red brick terraced houses!!) and enjoyed drinking wine as the sun went down. Jane made us some lovely food while we were there and much wine was drunk which fuelled the reminiscing. Her elder daughter was in my first ever class at Cumnor, she's sixteen now which makes me feel old, but it was lovely to see her doing so well. We had to head off the next day but in the morning we did some more sightseeing with Jane, including another gorgeous beach on a little island (Rabbit Island) and a well-placed winery. We then drove down to Kaikoura.
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