On Christmas Eve we drove to Nelson and went for Carols on the Cathedral Steps, which was amazing. It was daylight when it started but gradually got dark and looked fabulous as everyone there held a candle while they sang. It was really stunning to be stood outside in the middle of hundreds of people all singing by candlelight - we had to keep looking around us to take it in as we had forgotten to bring the camera (you'll just have to imagine it!) The humorous/weird part of the carols was the 'traditional' Kiwi carols, which turned out to be regular songs with the words re-written! eg 'Morning has broken' or 'Greensleeves'. Then we went a had had few glasses of wine...
Christmas Day - weird! Not a lot going on by way of presents, what with it just being the two of us, but we exchanged what we had bought and we both did well. The rest of the day was taken up with eating and relaxing. The hostel organised lunch by providing meat and asking everyone staying there to bring something to eat that was traditional in their country - we made apple crumble. It was a great lunch that was predominantly made up of desserts! We chatted to other travellers, played cards, ate and had a afternoon snooze. Not a very taxing day. In the evening we called home and spoke to our families and heard our nephew saying 'hello' and 'bye-bye' for the first time (first time for us - not for him!).
On the 27th we headed off to Abel Tasman for 3 days. The weather was lovely and the scenery stunning. When we arrived at the 2 camp sites we stayed at they were beautiful secluded beaches with only a few other people staying there with us. We swam and enjoyed the beach etc. The walking was great too, although we were carrying quite a lot of weight which was hard work! (Tent, sleeping mats, sleeping bags, stove & cooking gear, food for 3 days, clothes etc). On the 3rd day we got up at 3.50am! This was because we had to cross 2 channels at low tide and we needed to be there at specific times. We walked for the first hour in the dark with our head torches and got a bit lost at one stage, however we got there in time to cross both channels and by 8am we had walked about 12 km! All good fun. We then got a water taxi back driven by a guy who clearly loved his job and drove at high speed for an hour over lots of bumps etc, which was great fun as well as seeing the views and places that we had stayed. The finale of the journey was driving straight onto a trailer at the end and then being towed back to our car on the back of a tractor!!! It was strange being on land still sitting in the boat and wearing a lifejacket!
Happy New Year to everyone!