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Anna's New Zealand adventures

The North of South Island and West Coast (well half of it...)

NEW ZEALAND | Monday, 21 April 2008 | Views [753] | Comments [1]

From Picton we spent some time in the Malborough Sounds- truly spectacular although a pity we could hardly see them for all the cloud... still where we were staying had a scottish themed pub and open fire which kept us cosy and out of the rain- was a bit like being in Scots Disney but the locals were friendly and the atmosphere toasty.

From there we drove up to the very North of the South Island and stayed at very small and isolated town called Collingwood. Very retro campsite but it did have a nice lounge and telly (complete with very friendly tabby cat) which compensated for the decor of shades of brown and 70s styling. From here we explored the coast up to Farewell Spit- a remote stretch of sand forming a peninsular that is home to several migratory birds etc and a nice cafe with carrot cake (not a patch of mummy martin's though!). Nice beaches and rather pretty. The weather and the colds which Clare and I had been nursing since Picton looked to improve so we set-up camp further down coast at a very lovely beach in town of kaiteriteri (apparently one of the top 10 beaches in the world) from where it would be easy to start the Abel Tasman coastal walk.

Ture to the predictions of the weather men the skies cleared and we had glorious autumnal sunshine perfect for the coastal walk which needs blue skies so you can truly apprecaite the beaches and blue seas thereabouts. We started the walk from Marahau and took 3 days to complete it, camping at the beautiful beachside site at Anchorage and even more stunning camp at Bark Bay, where apart from another tent we had the whole place to ourselves- including the beach. All three of us piled into one tent to save space and weight in the backpacks (which were filled for the most part with food- better safe than sorry!) and although a bit crammed it also proved a good way to stay warm in the nights which due to clear skies were rather chilly! During the day however, thesun was still strong enough to encourage Tom and I to go swimming in the sea, Clare chickening out; she may have been the more sensible one as it was pretty freezing!

Felt very satisfied at the end of the walk and treated ourselves to a nice meal at the rather luxurious lodge in Awaroa (we changed out of our sweaty stuff in attempt to be more respectable) and enjoyed bombing past the places we'd walked on the water taxi ride back to Marahau.

From the Abel Tasman we drove to the Nelson Lakes. When we arrived we were still in the tail end of the good weather and could fully appreciate how impressive they are, bordered by steep mountains. However, after the first night the weather deotriorated and the most we saw of it from then on was the off faint outline through the clouds. He treid to hang in and wait till the weather cleared but after 2 nights on a basic campsite with nowhere warm and dry to go, we gave up and headed out to the west coast which is supposed to look even more impressive in the rain!

It certainly did- the rugged coast line and huge swelling tides made a nice change from the pristine tropical beaches we've become accustomed to. Also much easier to appreciate the elements when your staying in a lovely hostel in Punakaiki where they make fresh bread and muffins every morning and you have a nice bed and duvet to snuggle up in at night! We went to the pancake rocks twice(the main reason to be in Punakaiki other than coold hostel)- the first time it was actually sunny and tide not very high and then again as cloud came over and tide rough and high making the blowholes much more impressive and showed the true nature of the sea. Fabulous- I found a nice rock to sit on on the beach and spent hours looking at sea and reading my book- was truly awesome.

From the luxury of the hostel we then drove to the luxury of a campsite called Jackosn's Retreat near Lake Burnner. So lovely- the sitting room kitchen diner had log fire and was modern and spotless and the shwoers were pristine. We spent 3 nights there! There wasn't even that much to do after appreciating how nice like Brunner is but on the 2nd day the weather was so lovely I suggested a walk (I know I couldn't believe it either), which turned into a 6hr tramp to the peak of Mt. Te Kinga at 1200m- phew I was knackered but the view was worth it, 360 degrees out to sea, Southern Alps and even Mt. Cook right on horizon. After all the effort we treated ourselves to a meal out at the historic (i.e. over 50yrs old!) Jackson's Tavern- very good hearty pub grub which we needed just to keep our eyes open.

Now stopping briefly in Hokitika (which keeps making us want to sing the Abba song Chiquittika- rather infuriating) to get some admin stuff done and stock up on supplies before heading down the vertually uninhabited rest of west coast, well at least till the glaciers. I'm on the scout for a nice big jacket (possibly ski one) that will keep me warm on a glacial hikes etc- so better get a wriggle on before I'm late to meet Clare and Tom.

All my love to you all,

hope you all good and missing you tons




Hey Anna

Been reading all about your adventures and it sounds like you're have an amazing time... I'm so jealous!!!

The weather here has actually been lovely this week and it's great because I've got a wonderful excuse to just sit in the garden and enjoy it! Feeling HUGE now and very excited about the new arrival (still haven't settled on a name though?!) Decisive as ever!

Have fun!!

Lots of love,
Nicki, Martin, Molly and Bump xxxxxx

  Nicki Hodgkins May 15, 2008 8:38 AM

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