Day 409-411: Totaranui to Nelson, New Zealand

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March 13th 2010
Published: March 17th 2010
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Totaranui to Nelson

Thursday, March 11th

Happy birthday Stefan! We hope you have a special day and an amazing year now that you are back in SA. God bless you old friend!

After breakfast we walked down to the beach to see what the breeze was doing. We were hoping for a calm morning so that we could take Birdsy for a paddle out in the bay. We were not disappointed. The sun was blazing and there was almost no breeze.

We drove to the boat ramp where we unloaded Birdsy and carried her down to the bay. She was truly in her element here, cruising along with just a few soft strokes with the paddles. This was much more fun than paddling like mad people to reach some destination.

The water here is so clear that we could see down to the sea floor pretty much everywhere where paddled in the bay, and Talita spotted a huge fish that promptly disappeared as Birdsy glided by. We spent a while exploring the northern part of the bay, got close to a few young Shags, stuck our noses in some small coves, then cruised back to the beach where we gave Birdsy a fresh water rinse and loaded her back on the Boesman.

We had a swim and a bit of a tan on the beach, then went for a shower. After lunch we said goodbye to beautiful Totaranui and moved on. Since we've already been to the southern most tip of the south island we were now heading to the northern most point, the Farewell Spit (we have no idea what it has to do with spitting).

We stopped for supplies in Takaka, then drove north to Collingwood, giving a lady hitchhiker a ride to town. Here we did some laundry and visited a local chocolate shop where we spent more money in one go on chocolate than we ever have before. It was well worth it though.

Stocked up with chocolate and clean clothing we continued north, reaching the northern most tip of the south island by about 5pm. It was interesting to note that at this latitude we were quite a bit north of Wellington. A quick hike to the top of a hill saw us almost getting blown off our feet by the seemingly constant wind, but it did give a nice view of the area.

We found a place to park up for the night in Port Puponga, made dinner, then had a bit of a chat with the park manager before calling it a night.

Today's highlights:
1. Cruising the bay in trusty Birdsy.
2. Home made chocolate heaven.
3. Going as far north on the south island as we could.

Thought for the day:
It's easy to have faith when everything's going well. It's much harder when it's not.

Friday, March 12th

This morning we had a long chat with the manager of the holiday park. He sells t-shirts with his own designs featuring the Farewell Spit area. It's pretty cool to look at satellite pictures of the area, because the shape of this part of the country closely resembles that of a kiwi! He asked our input on some design ideas he had and we spent a while chatting about it. Before we left we got two t-shirts and he gave us four fridge-magnets and two postcards free.

We left windy Farewell Spit and headed south, through Takaka and Motueka. When we stopped in Ruby Bay for lunch, we found that our new flask had leaked all over our laundry bag. Luckily the plastic shopping bags we keep for the rubbish caught most of the tea, so it was a contained spill. After lunch we drove the last 30km into Nelson and checked into a campground that we thought looked nice. What we didn't know was that it was right under the flight path of all incoming planes to Nelson Airport, so the sky above us was pretty busy.

We spent the afternoon reading and doing more research online. The wind was going absolutely crazy. We saw someone's gazebo about to take flight and ran to hold it down. The wind was so strong it took both of us hanging on to stop it from simply flying off. The owner was nowhere to be seen so in the end we just started taking it apart and weighing it down so that it wouldn't blow away. When the owner arrived she was obviously flustered and we helped her pack away the gazebo before the wind ripped it to pieces.

Today's highlights:
1. Arriving in Nelson.

Saturday, March 13th

Happy birthday ouma Leon! This is now your second birthday we've missed and we feel thoroughly ashamed of ourselves. Nevertheless we wish you a lovely day and may God bless you this year with happiness and prosperity!

It was pretty cold when we woke this morning. Is it possible that it's winter in NZ already? We found it hard to believe.

We left camp and drove into Nelson where we visited the Suter Art Gallery. Most of the art didn't get us excited, but one exhibition was really amazing. It dealt with the sinking of the Delaware off the coast of New Zealand and the Maori heroin who swam out and saved the crew. The art was mixed medium, but the pieces that really impressed us where the paintings of faces on drift wood and scrap wood. Really amazing.

After the gallery we wandered through Queens Park. We found a bench in the sun away from the wind where we sat and laughed as moms and their babies came and fed the ducks. Every time a duck got a piece of bread too big to swallow immediately a huge chase would ensue as the owner tried to run and swallow it before it was mobbed and robbed by its greedy mates.

Later we walked around town and found a Christian store called Manna. We were delighted to find that they stocked a bunch of Nooma DVDs. We got the latest one for ourselves and five of our favorites for Paddy. We thought he'd enjoy the beautiful messages as much as we do and plan to send him one every so often.

We had lunch at a vegetarian restaurant, then walked through the market where Ferdi bought a Greenstone pendant for Talita's birthday. It's not that time yet, but it soon would be, and lucky for him she made no secret of what she wished for. Afterwards we drove the van to a shady spot next to a little stream and spent the early afternoon chilling indoors while a nasty cold wind gusted outside.

At about 4pm we set off for Brightwater, a community 20km outside of Nelson. Doug and Karen, a South African couple we'd met in Karamea, had invited us to stay with them. They were very happy to see us and spoiled us rotten. For starters we had crackers with Cranberries on melted Bree followed by lemon roasted duck for the carnivores. A friend of theirs had shot
The Spit can be seen way off in the distanceThe Spit can be seen way off in the distanceThe Spit can be seen way off in the distance

If you look closely you can see the sandstorm that is raging back there
the duck and it was funny to find a few shotgun pellets still embedded in the flesh. Main course was a spicy veggie stew on couscous, and for desert we had malva pudding with cream. It was delicious and we were absolutely stuffed by the end of it all.

Karen is a nurse and she had to go on night shift from 11pm, but we sat and chatted with Doug until the early hours of the morning before crawling into our van where we slept the sleep of the well satisfied.

Today's highlights:
1. Finding the Christian store and the Nooma DVDs.
2. Beautiful greenstone pendant for Talita.
3. Enjoying a great evening with fellow SAffers.

Additional photos below
Photos: 14, Displayed: 14


Cool satellite picture of Farewell Split Cool satellite picture of Farewell Split
Cool satellite picture of Farewell Split

Looks like a Kiwi, doesn't it?
Queens Park, NelsonQueens Park, Nelson
Queens Park, Nelson

No moms and babies with bread for the ducks yet
Talita's birthday giftTalita's birthday gift
Talita's birthday gift

New Zealand Greenstone pendant

22nd January 2011
Queens Park, Nelson

Great perspective, also good composition.

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