So i'm now in Nelson, our first stop in the South Island. The ferry took 3 hrs. The south island is even more beautiful than the north and a lot less commercial. The journey to Nelson took us through lots of lush green, tree coated, perfectly rounded mounds, through gorges and along rivers. We passed very few cars. The area around Nelson is famous for its Savignon blanc wines and ther are loads of vineyards. Would have been rude not to stop for some tasting.
The town of Nelson is the gateway to the beautiful Abel Tasman national park, which is why we are here. We took a water taxi along the coast to drop us off in the thick of the park so we could treck back out. We paid $20 for the taxi - the cheapest rate as it supposidly went straight there, however the driver ended up taking us on a tour. It was his last journey of the day so he didnt seem to care. He asked us if we were in a rush and we said no so we ended up taking 1 1/2 hrs to do a 20min journey and this is why:
Firstly we went to see the famous split apple rock in the middle of the ocean - yeah you gussed it, a rock that looks like a split apple. Then as we continued up the lush forest lined coast we cruised straight into a pod of dolphins! We pulled up alngside them and watched them playing in the water right by our boat. We got some excellent photos of them jumping out of the water and generally playing around. We followed them for ages, before remembering we stil had a 7hr hike to complete. That didnt stop us for stopping one more time to visit a fur seal colony. We finally got to Bark bay, our starting point for the hike, at midday. Still, it was definately the best $20 i've spent!
The track we took followed the coastline all the way back through native bush, along stunning tropical golden sand bays and deserted coves. The water ranged from vibrant aqua to emerald green and the forests backed right up onto the sea. The trek took us all of the estimated 7hrs to complete, what a day.