We have had an amazing few days here, one of the results of this being that we have extended our trip! just so you can realise how much you really do miss us! So we now return to england on June 24th. It basically means we have an extra week here and actually get to see a bit more of Brian and Fiona.
So since our last blog, we drove th inland road towards Kaikoura. We stopped over night in a lovely town called Hanmer Springs. It was really nice and we slept in a little car park in the centre! Hanmer Springs is built around natural thermal springs. So the next morning we treated ourselves to a steam and a swim in the thermal pools. It was really good fun as all of the pools are different temperatures so you can go from pool to pool, one of them being 41degrees! lovely. We came out of it looking like brand new and glowing as the steam had cleansed us. The pools are full of loads and loads of minerals so are meant to be very good for you.
From Hanmer, we drove to Kaikoura where we immediately paid for a dolphin swim. The dolphins were probably onbe of the best moments of my life. We did it the following day and had to be at the Dolphin Encounter place at 8.30 where we got kitted up in wetsuits and snorkels etc before being taken to the boat. The weather was perfect the sea was calm the sky was clear and the temperature warm. As we drove up the guides got reallyt excited as the dolphins were very close to shore and they pointed out as they put it, 'hundreds and hundreds of your new play mates'. Whereas usually the travel time to the dolphins is anywhere up to an hour, it took us 5 minutes. So we were positioned in the middle of the dolphins and got into the water. It was sooo cold it made it difficult to breathe through the snorkel because of our rapid breathing. But honestly it was amazing. The dolphins shot past us and circled us at break-neck speed and basically played with us. We had to make noise in te water to attract them and G said all he could hear was me whooping really loudly. It must have worked though s I got hit by a dolphin. It is apparently quite rare as they have good sense of awareness but it was flipping around me and leaping and it bashed into my hip, it really hurt but i was cheering haha so much fun. We also took an underwater camera dwon so we have some pictures. Everytime the dolphins moved on, we got back on the boat and followed before jumping in again. We were out on the water for a good 2 hours. It was just incredible, you really felt a part of the pack.
Anyway, after a quick look around we drove up the road to see the seal colony, they were absloutely huge and at one point, we walked along the boardwalk and one was right next to it which made us jump. From their we drove up the coast to another colony and after a quick walk through rainforest to a waterfall we saw all of the baby seals playing in the pool at the bottom, so cute and their were loads of them. As we walked back out we were cooing at two babies and they started trying to climb out onto the boardwalk next to us to say hello.
Anyway, we arrived in Nelsona fter driving through all the vineyards which were huge. We spent a day looking around which was nice, but strange to see big shops etc. We then embarked on a really steep walk up a hill to the centre of NZ. Marked by a little plaque with a Dot on the floor. We got lovely views from the top. On the way down we stopped for a well earned afghan cookie - yum!
Since we have arrived here, G has been pestering me to do kayaking in ABel Tasman, so off we went towards Abel Tasman, with a very excited G driving. The day we chose to do it, turned out to be an absolutely glorious day, south westerly winds, just wht we wanted, clear blue skies and it was warm.
We started off in our kayaks up the abel tasman coast, stopping for morning tea on a secluded beach before heading inland to Adele Island where we could see seals and then on again to Watering Cove, another beach for lunch. It was a good 2 and a half hour kayak which is harder than it sounds. We then caught a taxi boat further up the coast where we were to walk some of the way back. We were lucky as it was onyl us and a german couple on the tour and they were really nice, so the whole day was a success. The taxi driver was really funny and as we didnt get to jet boat on the buller gorge, he threw in a few 360 spins and went really fast, much to the disgust of an english couple also on the taxi. The warned us when we got on not to encourage the driver, which to us is a bit like a red rag to a bull. Back on land we started on a 7km hike through the forest which again was quite hard terrain but gave lovely views of the beaches, before catching another, more sedate, taxi back to our start point. At the beach the boat was greeted by a tractor which backed into the sea and attached to the boat, we were then driven on land, still in the boat back to our camper! very surreal.
Abel Tasman, is gorgeous, and as it is a national park it should stay that way! For us, it was 10x nicer than the Whitsundays in Oz. We saw far nicer beaches and clear water and it was just lovely. After a quick goodbye to the german couple, we set off via split apple rock, back to Nelson. Today, we are catching the ferry to the North, which accroding to G is completely different to the south so i am excited.