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Hackett Travels Life's about the journey, not the destination

North of the South

NEW ZEALAND | Sunday, 21 July 2013 | Views [306]

After we left Franz Josef we had a couple days of driving, mainly in the pouring rain, to get up to the north coast of the South Island.  We stopped in Greymouth on the coast and then up to Motueka ready to visit Abel Tasman National Park.  On the way up the coast we went over a single lane vehicle bridge that is shared with a train track – if you’re on the bridge and see a train coming the other way you have to stick it in reverse and get out of the way!  We also stopped at the Pancake Rocks where there are various bits of exposed rock and stacks with lots of lines across them like a big pile of pancakes and the scientists haven’t made up their mind yet exactly what they think made them end up like that.  There are also some blowholes – while we were there it was pouring with rain and the seas were quite wild so it was pretty noisy and we saw some water shooting up through the blowholes!

It rained all the way up the coast but the day we planned to go to Abel Tasman it finally stopped, although it was still cloudy and cold we didn’t get wet!  Abel Tasman National Park is on a strip of coast along the top of the North Island.  The only way to access it is walking a long way along the coast and back or by boat/kayak.  We got one of the boat shuttles along the coast, stopping to look at seals on the rocks and also Split Apple Rock which looks exactly like it sounds!  Then we were dropped off at one of the bays and did a walk up the headland almost to the small lighthouse and then around to a smaller beach where we ate our picnic lunch.  It was so peaceful and we were the only people there.  Bet its very different in the summer, although the weather’s probably a lot better!  This is the region of NZ that’s supposed to get the most sun – 2400 hours a year!  Of course we didn’t really see any, although it did threaten to break through the clouds a few times.

After the boat picked us up and took us back to Kaiteriteri we drove along the coast up to Picton.  We saw a bit of a sunset but then ended up coming into Picton around the scenic route in the dark!  It was very windy around the mountains but we couldn’t see the view!  We also had to stop at one point as there’d been a rock fall onto the road and there was a digger there trying to clear the road so cars could get through in both directions again. 

There’d been some more bad weather in the Cook Strait and so once again we got a call to say that the ferry we were booked on the next day (10:30am) had been cancelled and instead we’d be sailing at 1pm.  We walked down to the marina to have dinner and we could see why they were having trouble with the ferries – the winds were so strong that it was hard to walk against them and it was blowing open the door inside our motel unit!

Tags: boat, ferry, national park, seals

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