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Published: January 12th 2009
Late on Christmas Day, we packed up the car and on Boxing Day we headed north, bound for Anakiwa
in the Marlborough Sounds
. We drove SH1, following the Pacific Ocean's stunning craggy coast and stopped to eat leftovers from Christmas as a packed lunch just north of Kaikoura
. In contrast to the rainy Christmas Day we'd just experienced the weather had decided to become summer again and we had a great day road tripping.
We passed through the towns and vineyards of the Marlborough wine region (resisting the temptation to stop at Wineries) and then bought provisions in Havelock
before driving around the edge of Queen Charlotte Sound. We arrived late afternoon at the excellent Anakiwa Backpackers
in time to meet the new owners (plus dog and 12-week old kitten) and cool off by jumping straight off the new pier into the seawater...We were staying on the water at the end of the road and the very end of the Queen Charlotte Track - one of NZ's great walks.
That evening, we cooked and ate burritos outside, drank the open bottles of wine we had brought (also left over from Christmas), finished off Em's Christmas Pudding, contemplated past English Boxing
Days, and noted a few differences!
The next day (another stunningly sunny day) we packed lunch, grabbed our boots, walking poles and rucksacks and set off at 10am to walk a 25km section of the 4-day Queen Charlotte track. The plan was to walk from Anakiwa to the appropriately named Mistletoe Bay
and back again.
We had a fantastic morning walking through all sorts of terrain (cliffs, forests, native bush, beaches etc.) and made it to Mistletoe Bay for a late lunch at around 2pm. We had to option of taking the daily water taxi back and cutting the tramp in half, but that seemed too easy. Instead, after lunch we lay on the grass by the beach and watched the water taxi arrive and depart and figured that made our decision for us. The walk back was just as spectacular although 25km was a little longer than we would have preferred. We did spot a NZ Tree Weta (BIG insect) on the path - see pictures below.
Late in the day, the walking facilitated about ten games of going through the alphabet naming animals, drinks, food etcetera and countless attempts at '20 questions'.
17): is it an otter?
Em (question 18): is it a badger?
Em (question 19): is it any kind of rodent?
Em (question 20): last guess, is it a hedgehog?
Em: Well, what was it then?
Tim: The Dark Lord Sauron.
The expensive new Italian boots Tim is still breaking in held out well for about 22 of the 25 kilometres and then protested by giving him huge blisters, so the day was ended limping in agonising pain...
We arrived back at the backpackers at about 8pm and could do nothing but cook baked beans and sausages, shower, drink a couple of cool beers and pass out in a satisfied stupor.
The next day, we opted to spend the morning reading by the water and then borrowed Kayaks from the backpackers in the afternoon for a paddle around the bays. We had a swim and did some more jumping off the pier and then cooked a stir fry for dinner. All activities were carefully tailored around Tim's not having to walk on the twisted stumps that used to be his feet.
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