19th and 20th August
We started our day with the free breakfast provided by what was fast becoming our favourite hostel. As the rain persisted in the sunshine capital of New Zealand we took our time enjoying something other than cornflakes and powdered milk.
The rain finally stopped so we took advantage and went to explore Nelson. First stop, hippy shop, we were in our element. Next stop we went more cultural and stopped at the cathedral. Not quite like your average cathedral in England.
Nelson is, absolutely, geographically the centre of New Zealand. To get to the plaque and needle is a steep 45 minute climb, which we achieved with vigour and purpose. ( we power walked it and arrived very out of breath). The view over Nelson and the surrounding area, including our next destination Abel Tasman, was spectacular.
We have been so lucky with the weather so far.
Quick chat to Mamma T for her birthday and it was time for dinner, and, so, free chocolate pudding, again.
We sat with our friends, Anne, Gemma, Bryan, James and Nicki and chatted about various activities we had done and the people we had met. Newbie Ian was particularly interesting as he was visiting his young children from Christchurch, a place that we are keen to explore.
The next day we awake early for our intercity bus to Abel Tasman. Here will be meet our new stray bus and hop on it on Saturday. That’s how we worked it out.
Boyd, our driver picked us up in a 40 person bus. We would be the only three on the bus.
Boyd had lived in Nelson all his life and told us about how the waterfront had been physically moved by man to make more room for land to build on. He also took us the scenic route along the coast, something he wouldn’t be able to do in the summer when crowds of people descend on Abel Tasman and it’s golden beaches.
You can see why this national park is one of new Zealand’s most famous. Turquoise water, forest covered cliffs and a lack of people makes it’s a stunning, sort after destination.
Boyd did a lot of extra stops, including stopping outside his 82 year old biker friend’s house and getting us all to wave at him.
We arrived at the barn well before the stray bus and so decided on a walk. Walk was more of a very slow stroll, not sure what the Tongariro crossing has done to us but our hips just don’t work. We stopped at Porters Beach and Stu’s lookout, where we met up again with Boyd and his 82 year old friend. He explained that, in his youth, he was a hunter and used to climb the mountains every day in search of his prey.
The stray bus arrived early evening and we tentatively introduced ourselves to the LARGE group. Cooking can only be described as a nightmare but they seemed a friendly enough bunch, some wild characters but all OK.
Flo and Tori x