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Published: June 12th 2007
We got up bright and early to catch a ferry to the south island. We did not have a particularly good night of sleep with the loud music from the adjacent bar. We had a nice drive around Wellington last night and the sunrise over the bay was beautiful. The trip across the Cook Strait was uneventful, but once we got into Queen Charlotte Sound it was amzing. We went on a 15K walk out to the "Snout" and got back just as the sun set over the sound. Found a real nice cafe in a old sailing ship with quite a history and being the only people in the place got to know the owners/chefs (husband/wife). Our hostel was real nice and even had a hottub which felt good after the walk. Got up and had some of the complementary hot bread and coffee and we were off toward Abel Tasman National Park.
It was going to be a good bit of travel so we stopped at whatever intrigued us. One town had a nice little historical area. They were having a book fair, so we checked that out. Also had a chainsaw exhibit...didn't know they made them
that big. They had a nice little cafe in the local brewing house and had some Founder's Ale...really good. There are many beers here, wish there was someway of getting some home. Even Ruth has commented she could drink some of them.
We also stopped at a small church that had some history to it. They had some contemporary stained glass that was beautiful. They also had made the grounds for the church into a garden that was amazing. if you look close to the picture of the tree, you'll see Ruth at the base of it.
The town also had a "Queen's Garden" that also called our name, so we took a stroll through it also...fun seeing all the differnet plants...and even many that are familar to ATL.
We got to Abel Tasman early evening in order to settle in to our ocean view chalet. They lived up to their name and were perfectly situated to have a view of the ocean. We knew it was the "down" season, but here it means virtually shut down. We drove to the next town and came across a pretty hike above the town and harbor. Then we talked
a cafe into giving us coffee and carrot cake for dinner as the cooks had gone home, around 4-ish.
I really wanted to do some kayaking, but the winter winds are easterly so it was a little rough. We decided to take a water taxi up the coast to be dropped off and then we'd walk about 15K and get picked up again for home. That turned out to be the better choice as the taxi ride showed us a great deal of the bay, before they dropped us off. The tide was going out so they have to use tractors to tow the boats out into deeper water. When we got to the drop off you have to jump out and wade to shore. You're about to walk a long way so you need to take off your boots and socks to keep them dry.
The walk was amazing. The views just like postcards. The sounds of birds are exotic enough to add to the adventure. We saw many different birds, but a favorite is a little fantail that flies around you like it wants to be your friend. We saw a baby pig, that brought to
mind the 1,ooo# hog-zilla we heard about before we left ATL...we hoped the mother was not near by.
We got picked up by the boat, hopped in the car and headed for the little cafe as fast as we could to get there by 4 o'clock. Got there 3:55 and the same owner gave us the look...the chef leaves at 4-ish. I guess the look on our face prompted him to check if the cook had left the parking lot, he hadn't and offer to come back in to cook us a pizza and make a salad with his jacket still on. The meal was really quite good. The owner was excited about his trip to the US for their Harley convention in the Blackhills...750,000 motorcycles?? Not a place to vacation next summer.
Headed back to the chalet and caught another beatiful sunset.
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