At the end of March we headed away for a couple of fantastic weeks in the South Island. We started the trip with a three day hike along the Queen Charlotte track near Picton, hiking from Ship Cove to near Endeavour Inlet on day one, onto Portage Bay on day two, and finishing in Anakiwa on the third and final day. The walk is 71 kilometres of well marked paths through woodland and bushland, dropping down to picturesque bays and climbing over ridges with fantastic views over both the Queen Charlotte Sound and the Kenepuru Sound. For the most part the weather was fine, clear and with enough of a breeze to keep us cool.
The accommodation we had picked out turned out to all be of a really great standard, particularly Noeline's Homestay, run by 80 odd year old Noeline, who has travelled to over 60 countries since her husband died when she was in her mid sixties. What an inspiration! It was fascinating to see how challenging life on the Sounds could be, as when we were there she arrived back from driving to Blenheim to do 7 weeks weeks worth of shopping for her and her little dog.
We headed off to Nelson, via Pelorus Bridge where we stopped for a brief wander in the woods and ate our sandwiches in the dried up riverbed. Nelson seemed like quite an attractive place, and we enjoyed a wander round the lively market and checked out the informative displays at Nelson Provincial Museum. Beer wise, we headed to the Sprig and Fern and the amazing Freehouse, housed in a fabulous old church and we supped ale and listened to a barbershop trio (they were a man down) having an impromptu rehearsal a few tables away.
Next stop was the Abel Tasman National Park. We started off by catching the boat out to Bark Bay, then slowly walked back to Marahau along the beautiful Abel Tasman track, trying not to be tempted by every single white sand, turquoise watered bay that we came across. It truly is a stunning national park and we're not surprised that it is very, very popular in high season! Who needs Barbados?
|The very beautiful Abel Tasman National Park|
Our final destination of the trip was Golden Bay. We spent our last few nights of the trip at Shambhala, a gorgeous eco retreat, with regular yoga session, views over the ocean and beautiful gardens featuring an amazing tea house.
|Time for tea?|
|View from the gardens over the ocean|
|Amazing food at |
the Mussel Inn
We spent the evenings walking to the nearby Mussel Inn, along the glow worm strewn track, and even spotted a possum one night (our first of the trip!). The Mussel Inn is a completely brilliant brew pub, serving awesome ales and fab food in an amazing setting. Our favourite pub in New Zealand. And, possibly, the world. High praise indeed!
|One of the many cute cafes |
in Golden Bay
|A pet seal pup now very much on our Bucket List|
On our final day we ended up being turned away at what felt like every place we tried to visit, as it was Good Friday and everything was shut! So we finished our trip on a beautiful clear evening's sailing back to Wellington, accompanied by fish and chips and a bottle of Sav. An awesome end to an awesome holiday!
|Enjoying the last of the sunshine on the boat home|