The landing point for the interisland ferry is a lovely little town called Picton. Unlike Dover it has heaps of character and was an excellent base for us to prepare for the Queen Charlotte Track.
The alarm went off at 6:30am and we awoke to howling winds and torrential rain; perfect conditions for a 23.5K tramp! After putting on enough layers to make the Michelin Man look positively slim we made our way to the harbour in happy spirits to catch the 7:30 Beachcomber water taxi. We were sharing the boat with a merry bunch of twitchers who were going on a bird watching tour.
After a short and bumpy ride I managed to persuade Stuart that he did want to do the walk with me and not remain with his new bird watching buddies. We were dropped off at Torea Bay and as the boat sailed off into the distance we were left in the wilderness. The weather was gloomy for most of the morning and the pictures do not do the scenes that we saw justice. The Queen Charlotte Track lived up to its description and was stunning. The walk took us through lush forests and offered great views of the Queen Charlotte and Pelorus Sound.
We are starting to get quite good at this walking lark and arrived at Punga Cove at 2:15pm a whole two hours before the boat was due to pick us up. By this time the sun had started to shine and we enjoyed a well-deserved sit down at the water's edge. We were joined by the very amusing Waka Waka bird and beautiful blue heron. The boat that picked us up also serves as the mail boat so we got a bonus trip around the different parts of the track and saw our old friends the seals.
Snout Walk - 11th November 2011
You try and come up with a song title to describe the title of this walk! Today we awoke to glorious sunshine and decided to remain in Picton to complete the snout track. A great name and great little walk of about 15K. This allowed us to get some much clearer shots of Charlotte Sound, Waikawa Bay and Picton Harbour. We also walked along Bob's Bay with its plush carpet of pines and soothing sounds of the sea! Sadly we did not get to meet Bob but we are told he is a 'little bit funny' and can often be found spinning the decks. (Bob you didn't tell us you had a Bay named after you!)
Food glorious food….. 12th November 2011
…hot relish and doughnuts. It was time for us to meet up with our new friends the Timmzies in Nelson. We left Picton and decided to drive the scenic route via Havelock. There were two problems with this - firstly it was raining and secondly the drive had lots of twists and turns which as a passenger did not always make for a happy ride!
Before making our way to Alan and Belinda's we drove into Nelson to book our next trek to Abel Tasman and go in search of some doughnuts for Harry. Doughnuts, wine and chocolates in hand we arrived in Glenduan just as the sun started to shine. After a warm greeting from Poppy the dog and the rest of the family we sat down to enjoy a nice cup of tea and cookies baked by Charlotte and Tess. Belinda and I then enjoyed taking Poppy for a brisk walk along the beach and saw a pod of dolphins swimming in the distance.
In the evening we enjoyed a fabulous feast of food cooked up by Alan and Belinda. Alan's homemade relish is delicious and we are very lucky to have been given a jar for our onward travels. The food was washed down with quite a few glasses of wine - cheers m'dears! Stuart and I had a fabulous evening and enjoyed meeting Jules, James, Holly, Barnaby, Sarah-Jane and Andrew.
After another feast of eggs & bacon we set out to walk to Cable Bay. The start of this trail is at the end of the road and was once again a brilliant walk with amazing views - made all the more beautiful because the sun was shining. When we reached the Bay we sat down to enjoy more food and Harry was very kind and shared his doughnuts.
We would like to thank Belinda, Alan, Charlotte, Tess, Harry, Poppy and Smarty for making us feel so welcome. You have a lovely home which made us both feel quite homesick (until we realised we haven't actually got a home at the moment!). Thank you for all the lovely food and drink - we don't need to eat now for the rest of the week. We look forward to returning your kindness and generosity when you visit us in the UK. Take care everyone - you will live long in our memories and have made our visit to New Zealand even more special.