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Published: October 18th 2010
The weather improved as we left the North Island and our ferry journey was very scenic. We had decided to spend more time in the South Island where we knew there would be more to see and do and seeing as we hadn’t great weather in the North Island we were hopeful for some better weather the further south we travelled. We cruised from Wellington through the Cook Strait and into the Marlborough Sounds where we spent a total of three nights taking in the views and doing a spot of tramping (New Zealand lingo for Hiking). We stayed in a DOC campsite the first night in a beautiful location in a sheltered little inlet of the Marlborough sound and with the sun shining it was just gorgeous. DOC campsites are mostly free and are run by the Department of conservation, some have toilet and shower facilities some don’t. This one did although have showers but they were cold water shower, so it was a quick 2 minute shower each for us.
For our second and third nights in the Marlborough sound we stayed in a great campsite run by a local family which was alongside their farm. The smell
of cows reminded us so much of Stephen's granny’s farm. It was great, we even got freshly baked mini muffins when we checked in which we were thrilled with. We decided to trek some of the Queen Charlotte track and started at the very end which was only a few kilometres away from our campsite. We did toy with the idea of walking the middle part of the trek but the water taxis were in the region of $60 each which we couldn't really afford. New Zealand doesn’t have as much free camping as Australia so we have to cover camp fees for the majority of our time here not to mention the activities are plenty and some are expensive so we have to be careful with our funds and budget carefully.
But we got just as good a hike at the end of the 71 kilometre Queen Charlotte track and it didn't cost us a penny. It was a lovely walk to the pretty Mistletoe bay and back which was about 20km's in total, a good day’s walk for us. We had fantastic weather, great views and seeing as how we were walking in the bush,
there were no worries about repeat sunburn that we got doing the Tongariro crossing.
Following this we made our way to the Nelson region which is in the North West corner of the South Island and went on a hike in the famous and beautiful Abel Tasman National Park. We stayed in a campsite as close as we could get to the national park and we stayed for two nights. We again decided to do a return walk to avoid the water taxi costs again which we not as expensive as the Queen Charlotte sound but still pricey enough. Here we walked to from Marahau to Anchorage bay and back, pushing ourselves even further. We walked 27 kilometres but it was the last 5 km's which really hurt, we thought we would never get back to Marahau. Boy, did we sleep well that night. The able Tasman was just as beautiful as the Queen Charlotte sound and again we had a beautiful sunny day, the track leads down to a couple of beaches so we took advantage of dipping our toes in the fresh cool Tasman Sea.
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