Abel Tasman

Abel Tasman

First off, the earthquake that happened across the sound wasn’t felt here in Nelson. It rocked Wellington at 5am, and I know we didn’t feel anything, because I was awake. I stayed at a hostel and one of the guys there was snoring like a log truck. Didn’t even feel a tremor.

After a huge day of driving I arrived in Nelson in the northeast corner of the south island after having been hailed on no less than 3 times on the way after another day of storms. But if you’re going to have storms, might as well have them while you’re stuck in the car.  What a difference a day makes though.  I headed out to Abel Tasman national park for some sea kayaking – the best way to see the park since there are no roads in the park proper. It was an absolutely gorgeous day. It started out pretty cold, so we delayed the start an hour.  Everything turned rosy once the sun got up.  Think a tropical paradise – what a difference from the west coast (and no sand flies). We paired up and took to our 2 person sea kayaks. After some instruction, we all hopped in and headed out along the beautiful coastline. The water was beautiful blue-green and tremendously translucent. It was like a tropical paradise. We pulled into a few beaches which were just wonderful golden colored sands. The wind had picked up and it was pushing us right along without needing to really paddle. Half of us were only doing a half-day trip while the rest continued on. You can do kayaking out and hikes back in all kinds of combinations – trips up to 3 days in length. I chose the half-day option with a return on the water taxi that run up and down the coastline.

The abbreviated kayaking tour freed me up for the rest of the day to catch a small site where a scene from LOTR was shot.  I then went down to Harrington’s Brewery outside Nelson that brewed all the beer used in the filming of the LOTR trilogy.

I picked up a six-pack and it is quite good. Wonder how I’ll get it all back into the states?

Finally, I went to the museum of wearable art and classic cars. How does that work? Don’t ask – but it was certainly funky. Tomorrow I’m going to stop by the shop of the guy that made all the rings for the LOTR trilogy and then head to Pickton to catch the ferry to the north island. I hope it goes ok because they had a rare stoppage to the ferry service today because of 30 foot swells that capsized and killed several people in a small fishing boat. I won’t have to worry about capsizing, but apparently these ferries can turn into barf-fests in high seas. I’m going to rest up just in case and keep my fingers crossed.

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