We embarked on the 10 hour drive from Fox to Abel Tasman.It was a gorgeous day too.Still it was probably best for the health of our skin that we were cooped up in the van.We had a couple of stop offs en route.The first was at the pancake rocks, where the limestone has weathered in to what looks like stacks of pancakes.The next was at Buller Gorge.We walked across the 110m swing bridge which was only wide enough for 1 person -but didn't stop people crossing in the other direction at the same time.We were going to take on the flying fox (death slide) but when we got there it looked a bit tame and not worth the $35 they were charging!
Eventually we arrived at Motueka, our base for Abel Tasman.The campsite was great, and full of Kiwis.Finally we had escaped the German tourists.We had a voucher for a free (the magic word!) spa pool which was relaxing after our long drive.Then we settled down with some beer and sauvignon blanc.
The next day was really sunny so we decided to hit the beach.We were told that Kaiteriteri (which was just up the road) was one of the top 10 beaches in the world.It was nice but I don't think I would put it in the top 10 category.The kilt towel got to make an outing though.This is also when the true geek in Brian came to life.He has been fascinated with the stars down here in the Southern Hemisphere (which admittedly are pretty spectacular) and decided to treat himself to an expensive book on astronomy.While I was working hard on my sun tan and reading a trashy novel, Brian was providing me with "amazing" facts on the earth, moon and stars.He has since spotted the Southern Cross, amongst other constellations, so thinks he is a true astronomer now.
The following day wasn't such great weather so we decided to go for a walk in Abel Tasman National Park.The walk took us along the coast but was through bushes and trees so the view wasn't that great.Every now and then it would open up at a beach and it was spectacular.We found a beach to ourselves and stopped for lunch and few games of catch with our secret Santa American football.We were joined on and off by a few kayakers.We took a dip in the sea which was nice after walking but within a few minutes it was freezing!On the way back along the track it started to rain torrentially!We got soaked to the skin but cheered ourselves up with a big hokey pokey ice-cream.
We hadn't done any kayaking in New Zealand as we were saving it for Abel Tasman.So excitedly we booked the "One day royale with cheese!" trip for the following day.The girl said the weather forecast wasn't great but we thought we would do it anyway.The following morning however we woke to gale force winds and more torrential rain.Ever the optimists we drove along to the kayak centre but it was too dangerous to go out.Disappointing, but we would rather not be washed out to sea.
It was still really early so we decided to drive on the Nelson.The weather hadn't gotten any better so we visited the local aquatic centre.The swimming pool was great and after 50 lengths of the Olympic sized pool we were feeling hungry.Again due the weather we decided we would treat ourselves to a lunch inside a cafe (rather than the homemade rolls from the back of the campervan we had eaten for the last 25 days).We had lunch surrounded by Lambretta scooters in the Lambretta cafe in Nelson.We can recommend the wedges!After lunch we went to see Death at a Funeral at the cinema.We wouldn't recommend that!
In the afternoon we drove along the scenic route back to Picton to get the ferry back to Wellington the following day.