And so the south island has begun! I know I'm a bit late with this blog but keeping up has been quite hard. With us being so busy everyday, I don't often have time to sit down and write. Anywayy…
Landing in Christchurch, the first night we did very little knowing we were heading out early the next morning. Besides dinner at an amazing bar made out of old busses (Cool, I Know) we did little more than a bit of planning and a whole lot of sleep. Nobody wanted to stay up that night knowing what awaited us the next morning.
Having to be back at the airport by 8am, we were up bright and early psyched for the day ahead. Yes, today was finally the day we were getting our one and only Mike Wasowski Campervan. As we rocked up early and they were running late, only after an hour of waiting we were finally able to get going. A quick tour of our baby was given and then we were out of there like a flash, ready to get going with the South.
First stop actually wasn't that exciting as it was to the supermarket where we spent a bit more than we expected… Shopping with our eyes and not with our wallets we managed to rack up a tab close to $300. A bit shocked at how much groceries had cost no one was in a great mood. Well that was until we had our first meal right there in the parking lot, the one and only, breakfast of champions, Coco Pops.
Finally we were able to head off on our travels, aiming north with no real plan of where to go. We knew we wanted to get to the Abel Tasman National Park by the weekend but had no real stops until then. So, we got on the highway and drove, drove until we got hungry again. After a good couple of hours we made it to a town called Kaikoura and decided it was time for lunch. Finding the most amazing spot we set up camp for a bit and kicked back, knowing we had all the time in the world.
Believing we should eventually move on, we headed further north aiming to be at a town known as Blenheim that night. Along the way we did a couple of short hikes to waterfalls, stopped to see a famous crayfish shop known as Nin's Bin and even saw some seals. As the sun was beginning to set we decided it was time to pull over and find a place to camp. Not realizing how hard it is to find a spot to freedom camp, we drove around for quite some time looking for spot that was kind of legal and had a decent view. We did eventually find a place that ticked one of these boxes. We pulled over at a lovely spot on the river just off the side of some road. Not sure how legal it was, we kept an eye out for onlookers whilst we fried up our steaks and had a couple of beers. Day one was fantastic.
With no real rush, we woke up latish and after breakfast got back onto the road. Taking the scenic route we headed closer to the National Park, through towns such as Picton and Nelson looking for things to do. Along the way we did some more hiking, heading up one massive hill and picked up our second hitchhiker, his name was Steve. That night we freedom camped once more, finding yet another awesome (but illegal) spot by a marina, cooking up some Spag Bol for dinner.
Sleeping in well past the time we wanted to, after a quick brekky we were on the road once more. Realising we were but an hour from the Abel Tasman we decided to just finish the drive and set up camp there for a couple of nights. Now the Abel Tasman is a huge national park on the north coast with a 5 day trek running the length of it. Whilst we weren't exactly prepared to do the entire trek, we decided to stay at the closest town to the beginning of the trek, Marahau, and do a couple of short day walks. Well, at least we planned to.
Arriving at the park we were amazed, realizing how spectacular this place was. We could definitely see the reason people decided to spend so much time here. Amazing beaches, walks in every direction and crystal blue water, what more could you ask for. After checking in on our first day we decided to delay our first walk until later in the afternoon wanting to grab some more beach time. Thinking our beaching days were over up in the North Island, we couldn't hold back when the opportunity arose again.
We splashed in the water, built sandcastles and spent some time on our tans. After some time we did decide to attempt a walk but got distracted again, this time with photos. We must have spent a good hour or so trying to set up funny photos and spell the word New Zealand with our bodies. By 6pm we decided enough is enough and we must do some sort of a walk that day. We ended up walking to the end of our beach and back, which turned out to be much more strenuous than we had planned.
That night being Shabs we once again were good boys and prepared ourselves a feast. Even setting the table we gorged ourselves on kebabs, potatoes, corn and beers having our best meal in a while. With no nightlife (like at all) we just messed around in the campervan for the rest of the night, preparing ourselves for another amazing day to follow.
On our second and unfortunately final day, we set off telling ourselves that we needed to do some sort of a walk that day. Whilst we did eventually get one done, we ended up starting a lot later and finishing a lot earlier. Knowing the walk was but a kilometer from our place we thought we be energetic and walk to the start. However after a seemingly good idea of walking along the beach to the start, we ended up backtracking and bush bashing for almost an hour just to get back to the road. Im told Ori ended up falling in a particularly spiky bush. Glaze tells me it was hilarious.
Eventually we got to the start of the walk but were sidetracked once more. Crossing the first bridge on the path we found that people had used rocks on the sand below to spell out messages for all the travellers that passed. Unable to control ourselves, we jumped straight down and immediately began construction on a "G'day Mate" on a scale that put all the other messages to shame.
Thirty minutes later we did finally start our one and only walk of the area a good 1.5 hour hike, in thongs I should add, to the most gorgeous beach. Putting our basecamp beach to shame this place truly showed us what NZ had to offer. Here we ate our gourmet lunch of tuna on bread, took some more happy snaps, found a dead penguin, attempted to build a raft and even ran into some friends from back on our boat trip. This completely blew us away as during the entire day maybe 50 people total came to this beach. We couldn't believe it.
Realising we still had another hour and a half walk back we didn't stay all that long. We said goodbye to our friend and started our long walk back. Once we did get back, I was stuffed and could think of nothing more than grabbing a coke, my ipod and spreading myself out on our beach. Ori and Glaze on the other hand had some different ideas, getting a huge surge of energy from I don't know where. They headed back to bridge to build yet another rock sculpture, this one of a more intricate nature. Yes. You guessed it. They made a Superman. It was epic!
Whilst I kicked back on the beach, the boys toiled in sun, working for hours. After some time they did make it back to base looking completely stuffed but with massive smiles on their faces. They had indeed completed their artwork and ill be honest it looked pretty good.
Another chilled evening with a lovely dinner and a movie wrapped up the Tasman. It was a fantastic place to see and 100% worth the huge drive. My only regret is how little time we ended up spending there. Nevertheless, we would soon find out that our next destination would be just as good.
Next Stop. West Coast.