Abel Tasman, Nelson and Wanaka (South Island) – New Zealand – December 2008

Abel Tasman - Geoff kayaking

Abel Tasman – Geoff kayaking

It all seems to be flying by fast now and due to some more traditional awful NZ weather we have slowed up in the last day or so – marginally…..!

Here are the photo’s: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1isN5cSdvUysVKcdsSVEhqS-OVogNWZEE?usp=sharing

Spent a couple of days in the far north (of the South Island) in Queen Charlotte Sound in a bizarre eco-lodge which was very relaxing – seems to be run by backbackers with a couple of posh rooms for the more frequently washed of the clientele ;-)……..food was great – assuming organic local but not sure…..had it’s own farmyard …well…that might be generous…it had 2 baby pigs, a million weird duck/hen related birds scuttling around and 3 alpacas – the most memorable of whom was Ricky who had an interesting approach to getting up and personal with humans…..shame about the bad breath but he did have eyes to die for…(if he was any smaller I’d have kidnapped him and taken him home to live in the sun 😉 )…..

Aside from lots of loafing about, a few walks round the trails overlooking the Sounds and some gentle kayaking on the calm waters etc etc (don’t laugh at the hat – not me I know but the sun is rather intense even for a “Floridian” ;-)…we passed the time at a slower place……seems backpackers move verrrrrrrrrrryyyyyyyyyyy slowwwwwwwlllllllyyyyyyyyyyyy ;-)…….unlike the numerous dolphins skittering about the waters of the Queen Charlotte Sound ….too fast for the camera – AGAIN…!

Then off to Abel Tasman National Park and the sunny vineyard area of the Nelson region – very beautiful area – more rolling hills/mountains/arts and crafts galleries/vineyards and miles of beach parkthrough which we managed to persuade even Gary to do some hiking ….he was way too lazy (as expected 😉 ) to come kayaking for the day which is what the park is famous for…..well..it does involve both getting wet and having to exercise moving parts of one’s body so we had to cut him some slack and leave him back in the B&B ;-)…….anyway – it was fab…if tiring..

Then down the coast on the east (awful) to Kaikoura – still not quite sure why – this was Geoff’s one contribution to the vacation planning (best stick to his day job I think!)…..so it was a long drive through bleakness to somewhere tedious surrounded by black sand and cliffs JUST so we could stay in the world’s most expensive treehouse…….OK…it was very exclusive…..not exactly basic camping…..with 360 degree views from ocean to snow capped mountains……if I have space I’ll add a few photos….thereafter followed the longest day in the world driving south through Canterbury Plains (more vineyards….hills…mountains….etc etc..) to one of the entry point towns (Wanaka) to the Fiordland area (at last!!! J ).

Geoffrey’s attempts to make the long journey pass quicker fell at the first hurdle when he picked up a huge speeding fine ( a nice start to the day) and a raft of demerit points by the NZ fuzz…..he only has to collect another 15 demerits and he could be banned (even without holding a NZ licence) before he leaves the country!! He was, of course, thrilled toboast that he now has speeding fines and points in all continents of our beloved planet. G’s comment to the fuzz that it was only rubber (worthless local currency) dollars fell on less than impressed ears 😉 Gary took over after that and we completed the 3 million mile journey at or below the speed limit…..;-)

I am pleased to say the drive was spectacular throughout  – timed (I really SHOULD be a tour guide) perfectly with the abundant flowering of the lupins in the Otago region…..think more rivers/mountains/vividly turquoise glacial lakes etc etc….the photos won’t do it justice I’m afraid ……they were absolutely everywhere…..and I do not exaggerate (for once 😉 ) when I say we drove through lupins as far as the eye could see for at least 100 miles….

Anyway….here we are marooned in Wanaka…luckily I rented a VERY nice cottage and as I type we sit with roaring log fire and Christmas tree by the hearth (luckily not IN the hearth though with Geoff’s bah-humbug view of Christmas I fully expected to see the tree cut up for firewood and lobbed onto the grate 😉 ) as the rain pours in torrents out of the sky as it has for the last 36 hours…..just like Chrimbo back in the freezing motherland really 😉

Have spent an irritating morning rebooking and rescheduling all of our scenic flights over Milford Sound/Glaciers/jetboat safaris…etc etc…..so we can do them all in a distinctly more hurried manner next week when the sun is expected to shine once again over the Gardner /Jackson epic antipodean vacation……it better had or there’ll be TROUBLE 😉

Hope all well…..and that chrimbo/other seasonal festivity preparations aren’t driving you all nuts! 😉


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