Right i will try and fit in everything i can, so much to put! So, me and my Canadian friend Jen, left Taupo on Tuesday 1st September, to get out and see NZ at our own pace, the way we've wanted to for so long! So from Taupo we head out west, we had some minor directional difficulties getting away from the darned place but after a night stop we were on the west coast and headed south along the coast which was beautiful, and sunny! We came to New Plymouth first which was a really nice seaside kind of place, it actually reminded me of Plymouth in UK, or more how it should be! From New Plymouth we came down the east side of Mount Taranaki which is an incredible snow capped mountain that looks like it has just sprung from the ground, really worth a visit to! We came through a small town called Stratford that Jen, after having her nose in her travel guide for a suspiciously long amount of time, proclaimed to be the birthplace of Shakespear! After stopping myself from kicking the wretched Canadian out of the van for the insult, i quietly corrected her. We then came to a town called Wanganui where we spent a night, fairly uneventful but for a Derek Rowsell esq dash for a public toilet the following morning! (one set back of van travel, you are at the mercy of public convenience!) We then came to Palmeston north which isn't the best side of New Zealand, basically a city but we had a fun night. The following morning however, we woke up to a flat tyre! Thanks (only!) to some incredibly kind kiwis, we discovered where the jack was, how to get it right under the axel, where the spare tyre was and how to release the spare tyre. At this point i will thank Brian, who was on a bike ride with his kids, but due to a pair of clueless backpackers found himself under a van jacking it up and releasing the spare wheel for us. The man was a godsend and in his honour our lovely Hiace is now named Brian.
We were pleased to leave Palmeston North sometime in the afternoon, and decided after all the drama we wanted to relax near a beach, and as any map will tell you, the west coast or Kapiti Coast of New Zealand, is littered with them. We came across Otaki Beach, which had an unrestricted car park, public toilets, and was right on the beach. We pulled up and ended up staying for 5 days which was fanstastic, living on Lindauer (which i will add in here mum and dad, is only $10 a bottle out here!)and noodle soup!
We put off heading south to Wellington for sometime but eventually set off for a friday and Saturday night down there stopping in Paraparaumu for a night. Well we needn't have worried. There is a Base hostel in Wellington where a guy called CK who used to manage the bar in Taupo now works. After parking up and eating we headed out on Friday night, we headed to Basement Bar where Ck works, and he recognised us instantly. Within ten minutes he had sorted us a complimentary ensuite room for the folloeing night! We had two fantastic nights in Wellington, including enjoying our first showers in 7 days!!!!! Our two nights were soon obliterated into misery when we went to the I-site to book our ferry for the next day. Stupidly (and in typical Ben Rowsell fashion) i made assumptions about the cost without checking, at worst i thought $80-$100. Well we went in and asked, the pleasant young lady behind the desk tapped away at her key board and swung her monitor to show us the prices. If there was ever a time i have been close to crying like a baby in public it was then, prices started at around $255 for two of us and a van! We were gutted, but she found us a crossing for $215 which we grudgingly took!
We arrived in Picton, which is a lovely little town, picked up some groceries and decided to find a spot out in Marlborough Sounds to park up and chill with a view. We found an ideal spot which you can see on the photos and chilled for the night. The following morning we headed for Nelson where we arrived and chilled for a bit but decided it was another town and left shortly after! i think after the beaches and sea of the west coast we hated being in a town so we left and headed further round the bay and another tiny parking spot on Kina beach where again we spent a night with noodles and cards!
The following day we went to Motueka, we had the idea to walk the Abel Tasman coastal track so we went to the i-site in Motueka and booked it up. 4 day trek starting from the Thursday (17th) finishing on the Sunday. This was on Tuesday so the guy at the desk suggested we head up and explore Golden Bay which we did that day. We went to Pupu springs, the clearest fresh water springs in the world that you can't f***ing swim in!!!!!! And eventually spent the night in Takaka which was good fun! So on the Wednesday night we headed to our start point in Marahau and spent a night at The Barn hostel and camp ground where we parked the van, had hot showers and prepared to set off the next day. The Barn is BBH listed and i would recomment it to anyone walking the track, the staff are the friendliest i've come across in NZ so far. So thursday came and we got a water taxi to the top of the track and walked back over four days, stopping at huts in Awaroa, Bark Bay, and Anchorage. The track is beautiful, with golden sandy beaches and blue green sea all the way, the huts have no electricity so you live by candle light which is pretty cool and you meet some interesting people (and some annoying americans who want everyone to know they can speak french, are studying to be a doctor and their parents have a russian sauna) still though it was good fun lol! And that pretty much brings me to where i am now, back in Motueka writing this blog for my beloved friends and family who i still miss completely!
From here we will head down the west coast of South island, look for some work, and i will await the arrival of special guests Grandma and Grandpappa Rowsell!
it may be a while before my next blog but i will continue to bore you all with my photos!
Plenty of love