Hope you are all keeping well!
Well as Gavin has done the last two blogs while I've been out window shopping (no change there!)I was told it was my turn so here goes...
We left you after our glacier expedition very tired but very glad that we had because the well deserved beer afterwards tasted so good! So the following day we headed north to a town called Hokitika so I could buy my friend Kirstie a necklace which she wanted to buy when she was in New Zealand, so anyway this meant shopping for me and internet for Gavin! Unfortunately the weather was awful so we were quite glad to be inside, we also treated ourselves to some fish and chips when the rain stopped and to cheer up Gavin as he was in an egg (he was having problems with the computer), so we went down to the beach and sat by the sea eating them - beautiful! We used the rest of the day to drive as close to Arthurs Pass as we could and found a fantastic campsite, we spent the evening playing cards, eating chocolate and drinking tea - how hardcore are we?!?!
The following day we headed to Arthurs Pass and went into the information centre to ask about which walk to do, we decided to walk 'Bealey Spur' as it was the longest half day walk they had (4-6 hours) and had spectacular views. So we drove the short distance to the start of the walk and my god we were knackered after the first 10 minutes walking uphill through a beech forest. We were getting a little disappointed at this stage as we weren't seeing these 'spectacular views' as promised. As we walked further along we met some people who said it wasn't much further to 'the hut' and after that there was a walk to the top. We managed to reach the hut in 1 hour 40 minutes when they recommend two hours, so we were pretty chuffed. The hut which was 6k's up the hill was built in 1928 and used to be a musterers hut, now it provides overnight accommodation for walkers. It was really interesting reading the graffiti inside from people who had stayed there even back in the 1930's! We decided to have our lunch in the shade by the hut, which consisted of squashed warm egg mayo rolls - yum! We then decided to go right to the top to get the views as we had come this far. The only thing was it was pretty steep and every time you came over a hill there was another one, so you kept being tricked into thinking you were near the top. But we finally made it after 40 mins and walked along the ridge and had 360 degree views, you could even see a glacier in the mountains. Fantastic! We placed a stone each on the cairn at the top to leave our mark and then headed back down this time determined to get back within 2 hours! We did and were exhausted after walking 16km in total! We headed off towards Hanmer Springs and set up camp in a reserve which actually had toilets - luxury!!!
We took our time getting up the next morning and even treated ourselves to sausage and egg for breakfast, then we made the short drive to Hanmer Springs for some R & R in the thermal heated pools. We were both expecting natural pools of hot water but they were more like hot tubs and swimming pools but we didn't complain because it was so good sinking into the different pools which were all at different temperatures. The hottest was 41 degrees and smelt very eggy. After this we were feeling well rested so we headed off towards Kaikoura but I drove 95K's the wrong way, so we had to drive all the way back and then carry on till we found somewhere to stop. I said it was Gavin's fault as he was the navigator, but I don't think he was happy about that!
Last night was absolutely freezing, and the socks that Lucy, P, Jon, Emma and Kirsty bought me came out!!! Thanks guys they were really good! After thawing out the next morning we headed to a very windy Kaikora where you can go whale watching, unfortunatly because it was so windy we didn't get to go, so went to see the seal colony and I had a garlic scallop sandwich by the sea - yum! We spent the rest of the day cruising the coastal road and popping down to the beach which had grey sand.
Unfortunately the next couple of days after reaching Nelson were a complete washout! It did not stop raining for two days, so we set up in a campsite near Abel TAsman National Park and managed to read and play alot of cards!!!!
The sun finally appeared yesterday and we decided to go to Abel Tasman National Park and do part of the popular walk here. It was quite a hot day and we took this walk alot easier and stopped at Appletree bay for a snack and later at another bay for our lunch. It was really pretty area with lots of golden sandy beaches and beautiful blue seas. The whole walk actually takes between 3-5 days but you need to take your own tent and camping stove.
Today we have arrived in Picton to catch the ferry to the North Island. So I shall leave you guys there and we'll update you on our adventures when we get to the other side!
Lots of love
Helen and Gavin x