Marlborough wines, Abel Tasmans barn and the north west of the south

February 15th 2016
Published: February 15th 2016
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After a beautiful ferry ride, through the Marlborough sounds, we arrived on the South Island of New Zealand. In Picton we did some groceries and then drove to the campsite in the Momorangi bay. The campsite was beautiful, and we had a spot along the water 😊 We went swimming and then went to the big shared kitchen to cook dinner. We'd lost our pepper and salt somewhere along the way, so we had to borrow some of our German neighbors.

The next day we slept in and then drove to Renwick to go on a wine tour! We hired bikes and cycled through the vineyards, occasionally stopping for a tasting. Luckily for my dad, there was also a beer brewery in the region. At the end of the day we had visited four vineyards, tried 20 different wines and five beers and came home with four bottles of wine and two big bottles of beer. Pretty good catch right?

The next morning it was already time to leave the Marlborough's behind and head to the Abel Tasman national park. Here we stayed at a campsite called The Barn, which was located right at the start of a mayor walking trail. On our way there we picked up three young hitch hikers, who were also from Germany. (It seems like half of the German kids take a gap year in Australia or New Zealand...) We dropped them off at the last village before our destination and drove on to our destination only two kilometers up the road. When we arrived at the barn, we saw a sign that said "beach access". So me and my mom wandered a bit looking for said beach. When we walked back we saw two of our hitchhikers make their way to the barn as well :p Our camper van was parked in a nice sort of cul-de-sac, with a little kitchen in the middle. So we cooked some dinner here and it was all really nice except for one thing: The sand flies. I'm quite allergic to anything that stings or bites, and they know... So I'm always the first target for any creature to attack.

The next morning my parents went on a scenic walk along the coast line, while I went paddle boarding! (I kept calling it supping, cause SUP is short for stand up paddling. But apparently that's a Dutch saying) We were all picked up at the reception at 10am. My parents were taken to a boat, that would take them to the start of their trail. I got taken to a beach nearby and after a short instruction I was in the water 😊 There were two more girls that morning, but they were a bit less experienced with the whole board thing than me. It was probably quite a funny sight. Cause I stood upright the whole way, one girl stood most of it but sat on her knees through the waves and the other girl just sat on her ass the whole way :p We spent about one and a half hours on the boards and I had a really great time! It's nice mix between physical exercise and a relaxed vibe 😊 After that we got brought back to the barn.

It was about 1pm when I got back and I expected my parents to be back around 3 or 3:30pm. So I walked over to a beach nearby and made sure I was back at the van at 3, cause I had the keys. From our campsite you could see the end of the trail, so I started checking that every once in a while. But at 3:30 there was no sign of them, not at 4pm, nor at 4:30. Just before five they finally got back to the campsite. Turned out that boat ride had taken way longer than anticipated and they didn't even start the trail until the time that i was already done paddle boarding! Luckily we had enough cold beer in the fridge to lift their spirits and we had a nice last night in the Abel Tasman national park. 😊

Because we can see so many stars here, we have been looking up at the sky more than usual. And we noticed that the moon disappears here! We'd see it appear around dinner time, but by the time we'd go to bed it would have vanished... So we tried to keep an eye on it. But once it was so fast that night that we saw it on our way to the toilets to brush our teeth, and on our way back it was gone again! Sneaky moon they've got here.

Anyways... The next morning we left the campsite nice and early to go to the Sunday market in Motueka! We bought some nice local fruits, like strawberries, blueberries and peaches and some orange tomatoes that were all delicious 😊 After a long drive along the beautiful west coast, we got to our next great campsite: the beach camp in Punakaiki. When we parked the van we could already hear the sea and it turned out that we were less than 200 meters away from the beach 😊 So me and my mom had a little walk along it and then went back to the van to make some dinner. We spend some time planning our next day. Cause there was a trail that started at the campsite again, but the best time to do this trail depended on the tides.

So the next morning, this morning, we had some time off. There were paddle boards available here as well, so I went into the sea with one. But the waves were way to rough, so I didn't manage to get past them. At high tide you can paddle down a nearby river, so the guy from the campsite told me I could try again later that day.

Around three we set of for our trail. It was a really nice three hour hike, along the river, up a hill and then to the tourist high light of the area: The pancake rocks. These rocks have eroded in a way that makes em look like stacks of pancakes. But the most spectacular was the blow hole in the middle of them. This is also why the timing of getting there is important. Cause at low tide is not very exciting, but at high tide the water goes mad.

When we got back to the campsite I talked to the paddle boarding guy again and he said it would be too late to go down the river after dinner, but if I was willing to get up early I could go down tomorrow morning!

So tomorrow I'm gonna go down the river at 7:30am before we leave for our next stop 😊 I'm quite excited! So I'm off to bed with a long day ahead, cause tomorrow we're going to Fox Glacier!


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