New Zealand: New Years in the Abel Tasman National Park

After arriving in Nelson (which is located in the north of the South Island) we picked up our hire car and made the shortish journey further north to an area known to be one of the beauty spots of NZ: the Abel Tasman National Park (in fact, it’s Flight of the Conchord’s Rhys Darby’s favourite spot). The next few days we had absolutely atrocious weather, it didn’t actual seem to stop raining for 3 days straight! We made the best of the weather by driving to a few of the recommended attractions and eisther observing from the car or braving it in our waterproofs.

Highlights were: Farewell Spit, the northern tip of the South Island which is famous for stranded whales (!); trekking to the huge sand dunes at Whanganui (and getting soaked through); swimming in a freezing cold up-welling; and visiting the massive Pupu freshwater spring which officially is the clearest water on the planet with 47m visibility (but, disappointingly we weren’t able to swim in it because of some micro-organism threat and the rain made it hard to see the clarity :().  I was grateful to have the car because without it I would have been sat in the hostel twiddling my thumbs and we were able to get out and see some cool stuff.

The night before New Year’s we visited one of NZ’s ‘independent’ cinemas in Motueka which was certainly an experience. Instead of adverts, they had a powerpoint presentation of NZ flora and fauna; instead of cinema seats, you sit on a random assortment of couches and armchairs; and instead of super-size fountain coke they served pots of tea on a tray.

Onto New Year’s Eve and we went to a local bar in tiny Marahau which was apparently the only option in the area. Despite this we had a good night with live music and the place was packed and rocking. My Mum had booked us to go kayaking on the Abel Tasman Sea at 8.30 the next morning which I figured was a cunning ploy to prevent Broseph and I from drinking too much. Well we showed her!!

The next morning, bright and early and feeling worse for wear, we hit the Abel Tasman Sea. I was grateful for two things: the sun was finally out and showing off the glorious splendor of the turquoise sea and steep forested coastline, but also that we had a double kayak so Joe could take up a bit of my slack ;). After cruising past a few islands and witnessing the odd behaviour of the Sea Lions we made it to our accommodation for the evening which was a floating hostel called Aquapackers set in an awesome white sanded bay called Anchorage. After a pretty strenuous day I absolutely devoured the BBQ that had been prepared on the boat and we ended the first day of the New Year with a mammoth game of Chase the Lady (the game of choice for our family with Gin Rummy and Prediction Whist second favourites).

Feeling top notch :s

What an active family!

“Just keep paddling, Joe, I’m taking pictures”:

Abel Tasman scenery:

Anchorage Bay (the back bay) from the air courtesy of google:

The next day I forfeited the shower for a bit of acrobatics from the roof of Aquapackers into the chilly sea, and Joe did likewise. The rest of the day was spent continuing up the coast in the kayak’s before catching a water taxi back to base camp at Marahou.

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