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Published: January 18th 2015
The South Island
Welcome to the South Island. The island of extreme sports. Skydiving, Jetboats, Bungy jumps, reverse bungy, Canyon swings, you name it they’ll more than likely strap you in and send you the air or water or barreling down some hill. Arriving in Picton we get in the car and drive off the ferry. (Pic of ferry and Picton) Off we go to the Abel Tasman region. We pull into our accommodation another backpackers lodge in the wilderness called “Old MacDonalds farm”. No lie. Great place camp wise. It s becoming quickly apparent these “backpackers” places some once called hostels are not just full of kids on gap years “finding themselves” while on a gap year, giving deodorant and personal grooming up for a year or so, traveling around as cheap as possible while meeting like minded wanderers.
There are some very well equipped backpacker places with really well set up large mufti-purpose kitchens, lounge areas each place having it’s own theme or style. Some had their own gardens and provided a daily choice of fresh things to use free in the kitchen. And travelers ages ranging from 25 thru 60. It actually becomes a great place
to swap stories and ideas of where to go and what to do with like-minded people eager to share advice about their day. Much better than a booking agent selling a certain activity for commission. Plus most of the outdoor hikes, walks are free anyway.
Of course we found one place so far that was a bit on the bare needs side, but the type of trip we are doing, we’re only overnight in each place to get on to the next town or adventure anyway. But I definitely have to say that this style of stay is very conducive to getting the most out of a vacation where you are looking to explore a region or multiple cities in a region. Cooking as you go and keeping your food “dine out” money minimal while staying at nice friendly accommodation for $60 a night with a private bedroom, shared bathroom and fully equipped kitchens. Does it take a bit to get used to? Yes, but I can get used to saving a $100 a day on a room I never see as well.
Okay so off to the next adventure. Really the first hike.
More of a scenic walk really. We re in the scenic Abel Tasman region of New Zealand. We meet at the water taxi center funny enough our boat is waiting for us on land. Connected to a huge tractor. I thought something was odd as I could plainly see the address they gave us was missing an important ingredient for a water taxi. Namely water! We boarded the boat on land and were driven to a beach, landing, launching area. I enquired as to why I d never seen any docks around. Especially since we were in a bay. The reason, the tide difference in this region is more than 15 feet. And with the flat shallow bottom when the tide goes out so far you can walk out on the sea floor for around half a kilometer or more. You can walk around exploring the cockle, mussel and crab filled sandy bottom for hours.
So the boats all have cradles they sit in and get launched instead. We get dropped off for our 3.5 walk back to the town of Anchorage through the trails lining the shore. It really is pure, untouched and natural beauty. If you can’t
take a good picture here, there’s no hope for you. The scenes really are amazing and the lens can only capture so much. We get back to Old MacDonald’s Farm and head out towards Nelson continuing our way south.
We arrive at our next place, Honeysuckle Cottage. Really great shared accommodation, very well equipped kitchen, lavender on the pillows, fresh herbs from the garden use and even free ice cream!!
Explored the town of Nelson then off to Hanmer Springs, a natural hot springs turned into water park. First we grabbed some Moonbikes. Basically Mountain bikes with giant fat tyres. After an hour ride through back trails the Hot Springs and water slides area great way to end the day. After the fun it’s off to Christ Church. Staying at a really nice AirBnB place. Great to have such a nice place after a long day. Tomorrow it s All Aboard the Trans Alpine express to Greymouth. A 4.5 hour train thru the southern alps of New Zealand. Really relaxing scenic run through the mountains. One way so we bus back to get the side road views back into Christchurch. A pretty interesting city rocked by earthquakes in
2010 and 2012 a whole section of the middle city is deserted with office buildings and shops eerily quiet. A whole container shopping mall sprung up out of necessity to get things back to normal and is now an attraction of the city. Time to head south. It s mountain climbing time!!!
This hike was one of the toughest yet. Both mentally and physically. With a mix of 2000 steep stairs straight up, gravel, loose rock, boulders to climb over, then near the top snow. It really was hard going at times but we made it up and back. 1800 m or 5905 ft Altitude. Crazy views and definitely an accomplishment. Stay tuned!!
Tot: 1.17s; Tpl: 0.064s; cc: 9; qc: 48; dbt: 0.0257s; 1; m:saturn w:www (184.108.40.206); sld: 3;
; mem: 1.3mb