Day 18: A very remote New Years Eve

What a lovely surprise this morning: we woke up to a blue sky with a few white clouds in it and the temperature was still a lovely 20 degrees. After a wonderful breakfast, this time with eggs on toast with some smoked salmon on the side, we decided to warm up a little more and lie on the breach for an hour before commencing or trip to Punakaiki.

Right after we lied down on the lovely golden sand of Kaiteriteri the clouds started getting in the way of the sun and the wind picked up. After the hour had passed the temperature had dropped to an uncomfortable level and we decided it was a good time to leave the ocean and head out.

Right before we left we shopped for groceries, as the accommodation we had booked in Punakaiki was to be self catered. As it is the 31st of December today, we figured everything would be closing early. Also, Punakaiki is a really small town, so it would be quite something if there would be anything at all!
We bought ingredients for a homemade burger with chicken, and set out on the 4 hour drive down south.

It turned out that leaving was a good idea: throughout the drive the rains differed from just rain to downright torrential, only to lift minutes prior to us arriving at our destination.
The place would be called Havenz but we are directed to go to the Canoe Building.

Apparently, the guy who owns the houses also built them, but he does not run the day to day business. This means he does the bookings, but does not hand out the keys. This is done by the guy who rents out canoes, and he made a mistake just before we arrived.
He gave our room to the wrong people, and left us with the wrong one.

Usually, this would be quite nice, but as the house we should get was not quite the same as the one we got, a switch had to be made. We should get a room, but instead we got a huge three story house with 5 rooms and enough space to live in.
Unfortunately, we had to leave it and instead got a single room on the ground floor level of a 2 story house down the road.
Not luxuriously upholstered like the other one, no Wi-Fi, no cellphone reception, and most importantly it is a shared place. In total 5 families in one very noisy house. Wonderful.

Let’s just say this was one of the more memorable New Years Eves in quite a while. 🙂
Eerily quiet and no fireworks, with the rain steadily falling: different.
We did however get to see the most beautiful sunset in NZ yet at the Truman Track, a walkway leading from our house connects to the track. That was quite an interesting walk after the sun had set through the dark forest!

Before we checked in at our house, we went to see the two main attractions of Punakaiki: Pancake Rocks and the Blowholes.
These are really picturesque!
The rocks are limestone layers, wedged in between mudstone slabs. The erosion of the mudstone is faster, which shows the layering even better. The blowholes are vents of underground caves where the ocean swells break in. These vents then spew out the air and spray to form nice white columns above the ground.

Also, we walked the Truman Track to two hidden and beautiful coves. If you ever go to Punakaiki: go there!

Tomorrow, we are driving to Fox Glacier. It should take us about 4 hours, let’s see what it is like over there!

Day 17: Soggy shoes

Well, the forecast for today was pretty much bang on: rain.

There are basically two ways of getting into Abel Tasman NP: on foot, or by boat.
We chose for the latter, as the full Abel Tasman Coastal Track will take about 3 days to complete. And with the current weather, that amount of time outside is just intolerable.
We booked something called Abel Tasman Day Explorer, which means you embark on a boat at Kaiteriteri to go all the way north to the most northern point in the park, after which you get dropped off somewhere along the way back.

We chose to do a two hour walk from Torrent Bay to Medlands Bay, as this is the most beautiful part of the entire Coastal Track. We considered doing the longer 4 hour walk from Medlands Bay to Anchorage Bay, but decided it would be a bad thing if we were to walk in rain the entire time. Remember, we had to choose this morning, during breakfast, and you can never be sure of the weather here.

Considering the title of this blog, you probably guessed it: we chose well. Our entire two hour walk was wet, with rain varying from drizzle to near torrential. Everything got wet, even through our raincoats. We were very glad to not be outside for 4 hours or longer, but were kind of miserable anyway.
On the plus side: the cameras and other equipment all survived this ordeal, and by now most of the stuff we carried is not soaking wet anymore. On the down side: the walk and the views should both have been really wonderful, but I’m afraid we didn’t quite experience those aspects of the trip very well. Too bad.

Weirdly enough, by the time we arrived back in Kaiteriteri around half past 4, the weather had cleared all the way up, and we hurried to go to the beach! With temperatures never dropping below 20 degrees, it definitely was not cold and with the sun on the beach it could even be considered to be very nice!
This was a very nice end of an otherwise quite miserable day.
Thoroughly warmed and very much drier than before, we headed back to the B&B.

Tomorrow, we have to do some shopping for New Year’s Eve as the place we are going has absolutely nothing. It is going to be a very special 31st of December! So, Punakaiki, here we come!

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!