Day 16: To Abel Tasman NP

Yet again, we wake up to cloudy skies and near torrential rain. The forecast says it will be better after Tuesday, but seeing it is Sunday today, that will take a while.
Today we’ll have to travel a few hours to Abel Tasman National Park, and as we won’t be outside much, the rain is of lesser importance. If would however, be nice if it dried up a bit. 🙂

After a quick look at the local NZ Fur Seal colony, we were off, back to the north.
As Abel Tasman No only has one road in it, and no permanent residents, we cannot stay inside the Park overnight. Therefore, our destination today is Kaiteriteri, one of only three places around the park offering a way into the park.

After 4 solid hours of driving through heavy rains, we were both really tired and fed up with the local weather. Unfortunately for us, the warm weather the other couple told us about the other day has not stayed in Kaiteriteri and has made way for a lot of rain. Not only today, but also in the coming days. Blegh.

So, today we did nothing basically. We arrived at the B&B, and were greeted by our hostess Jude. She informed us about all available options to spend the day outside, but had to confess there is little to do on a wet day.
So, we have made arrangements to ignore the weather and go out on a boat into Abel Tasman for a walk.
We’ll see what it brings us, it should be a really lovely walk!

The most memorable moment today has to be the dinner we enjoyed at the local Eco Resort! We ate in the vegetarian restaurant, and thoroughly enjoyed it! The atmosphere was quite something else to be honest, seeing all food was not only vegetarian, but also locally grown, fresh, non spray, organic, and really ‘green’. Even the drinks were organic, and we both had an organic Coke. Weird!

Day 15: I’m on a boat (again!)

After a full night of rain we had hoped it would clear during the day, but unfortunately it did not.
Luckily, the wind died down quite a bit, as it had caused for a full on stop of the whale watching boats yesterday. None had sailed.

Today though, everything was going out, and we were to be on the 07:15 boat. We were warned that it would be rough outside, and boy were they right! Kirsten had grabbed a anti seas sickness pill from their own local pharmacy, and I did not as I usually don’t get sea sick. Apparently, this time I did.
As did the entire boat. Green faces all over the place, and the only cheerful people in there were the crew.
I guess I was lucky, as I only suffered from it for a couple of minutes in the last half hour, but for the other 50+ people on the boat it must have been the longest 2,5 hours of their lives.

The boat and the ride were both great by the way! A jet powered catamaran with airplane like seats in it for optimal comfort, and equipped with enough power to go fast. The boats are designed for whale watching on a large scale, and they are lovely for doing so.
It is just the weather which does not fully cooperate.

We’ve seen 2 Sperm Whales, and a really large school of Dusky Dolphins and just had a blast doing so. Even in the rain!

After the adventure on the water we would have liked to walk around the peninsula, as we were told the coastal walkway offered the best viewings of the surrounding scenic country. As it was still raining cats and dogs we decided that was not for us today which lead to us getting in the car and driving a leisurely drive along the coast down towards Christchurch. As we are destined to go north tomorrow, we quickly returned to our B&B to visit the sheep shearing show the host is giving. Peter is not only running the B&B with his wide Gwenda, but is also shearing two sheep a day for tourists while explaining more about the farm, the shearing process and the sheep in NZ. It is a great way to spend some time on a rainy day like today.

As we were fed up with being outside, we also bought tickets in the local cinema to go check out the second part of The Hobbit. It is in 2D only, so we have to see the 3D version when we’re back in NL!
Tomorrow, we are off again, this time to Abel Tasman NP. We heard from some people we met today that they had been lying on the beach in swimwear only hours before arriving in Kaikoura, so we are looking forward to that already!

Day 14: I’m on a boat!

Als we took one of the earlier ferries across the Cook Strait, the alarms on our phones went off a little too early in the day for comfort. Barely past 6 in the morning, we made breakfast on our room and started to pack our stuff into the car.
By 06:30 we checked out and made our way to the Interislander Ferry to Picton.

As we couldn’t take our rental car with us on the boat, because the rental company does not like to transport cars between the islands, we had to leave it on the North Island, and grab a new one on the South Island.
Weirdly though, as it was still early in the day, the offices for the rental companies were still closed. Therefore, all we had to do to ‘return’ the car was to leave it in the parking lot (double parked of course, as it was way too busy) and drop the keys of the car in a designated letterbox in the departure terminal of the ferry. That was the weirdest thing ever!
We’ve learned not to ever depart with the keys of the car, and now we are deliberately leaving them behind, seemingly unattended in a nondescript box with a hole in it.
We did it anyway, and luckily were able to collect our second car on the other side.

The trip on the boat itself was quite interesting as well. It was fully booked, and with a strong breeze the boat started swaying and rolling a few short moments after we departed from the dock. This kept on going for about an hour, after which quite few people were feeling the effects of the ocean on their bodies. Lots of green faces all around!
Luckily, the ride started getting a lot smoother after that, and we even had some time to enjoy the trip.
As the weather was not good at all, with dark grey low hanging clouds blocking all views that aspect was toned down, but the rest of the trip was lovely.

As I bought a large case of beer a few days ago, I wanted to carry it with me on the boat, but was informed that I was not allowed to do so. The case had to be checked in with the suitcases to go in the cargo hold of the vessel, and was labelled fragile. On the other side, I was greeted by the case on the conveyor belt. It was probably the weirdest thing they carried today!

We traded in our blue Mazda 3 for a white Toyota Corolla which is a wee bit smaller than the other one, so our suitcases only just fit in. Unfortunately they don’t fit in the trunk, so we have to pack smart!
From Picton, we had to drive about 2 more hours to Kaikoura. This place is about as touristic as they get, and their main selling point is whale watching. We are no strangers to that trade, and have booked a tour for tomorrow.

But first: checking in at The Point B&B, and try to get some food. We hear pizza from The Black Rabbit Pizza Company is really good!
Now let’s hope the rain clears away for a while, as it has been chucking down since we arrived here around 2pm. Also, a lot of rain is forecast for tonight. We’ll see what happens tomorrow morning!