I arrived into Nelson on the Thursday afternoon - although I'd been here 6 years ago I didn't really remember it very much. This is actually where I was when I got my degree result back in 2005. I wandered around that evening and then just chilled out back at my hostel. The following day I was off to Abel Tasman, I got picked up at the hostel and we headed to the Park. At the park HQ I met my guide and the 2 other people doing my trip - we got our equipment together and headed out in a water taxi to Onetuhuti where we would start the kayak trip back to Anchorage via the Tonga island marine reserve. Because we were a small group we actually headed up the coast (in the wrong direction) first. The beaches in Abel Tasman are a stunning golden colour and the water a beautiful green - and while we were paddling along it was crystal clear - you could see the bottom clearly! We came up to some rocks to have a look at some sea lions. I've seen lots of sea lions in lots of places but I never tire of watching them. There was a very young cub jumping along trying to get to his mother and another cub feeding. In the water, right beside our Kayaks there was an adult female playing and spinning in the water. It's amazing how graceful they are in the water (especially given how clumsy they look on land).
We then paddled down the coast, enjoying the spectacular scenery, saw a little blue penguin bobbing around on the surface and continued on to another beautiful golden beach where we stopped for lunch and a swim. It was a glorious day and the cool water was a welcome retreat from the heat. As we continued down the coast we pulled into stingray cove where we did see a stingray gliding along beneath us in the water. Further down the coast we pulled into an inlet and paddles into a river for a little bit which was also cool.
We arrived into Anchorage in the afternoon where I would be spending the night on the "Aquapackers" a hostel on a boat in the bay. After a little while chilling on the beach we were picked up and taken to the boat. It was really cool - the dorms were definitely cosy but it was really cool. You were able to jump off the boat into the sea which was fun and refreshing. On the boat I met a Swedish couple (Christoffer and Evelina) and a German girl (Hanh). We sat and chatted for a while while we waited for our BBQ dinner to be prepared. By the time it was ready we were starving but it was worth the wait - an amazing bbq, cooked at the back of the boat and enjoyed with great company and stunning scenery! After dinner and another swim we spent the evening chatting and laughing (a lot) - it was a really enjoyable evening! We were also treated to a stunning sunset and then a while later the sky was filled with stars - it was beautiful.
The following day Hanh and I walked out of the park together. First of all we went for a short walk near Anchorage which had some more stunning scenery and we stopped off at yet another beautiful beach we were sun bathed and swam. We then returned to Anchorage and walked back to Marahu where I had started the trip the day before. The walk was through the bush which was cool and followed the coast along - providing views of beautiful beaches along the way! It was a really enjoyable walk!
I got back to Marahu and then got my bus back to Nelson where I stayed at the Paradiso hostel again. Again, although there were lots of people around I was quite tired and just chilled out in the hostel - which was a bit difficult as it was Friday and everyone was getting drunk and making a lot of noise - god I've turned into an old man - but it was annoying at 4 in the morning!
There was almost a massive disaster, when I woke up on Saturday morning (The day before I was due to leave NZ) I couldn't find my wallet - I knew I'd had it in the tv room the previous night and I must have dropped it - but it was no longer there - oh oh! Luckily when the reception opened (15minutes before I needed to leave) my wallet was in there. There are some honest people left in the world - oh no wait - there are some relatively honestish people left in the world because although the wallet was there as were my cards the $45 that was in it was gone - ah well and rather inexpensive reminded to be extremely careful with my stuff - particularly important now I was about to leave for Asia!
I then headed off on a bus to Kaikoura where a new trend started - as the bus was just leaving the guy who was sitting opposite my vomited all over the place - lovely!!