Raining in the "Sunniest City in New Zealand", Kayaking/Walking Abel Tasman, A Town Full of Hippies, A Campsite Full of Climbers, Alot of Danish People
21.02.2012 - 03.03.2012
So after a realtively pain free ferry crossing, I have now moved on to the South Island. Our first stop was Nelson, the "Sunniest City in New Zealand" (I read this fact from the lonely planet whilst I was sheltering in my car from the worst rain so far on the trip, quietly laughing to myself) other than a brief wander round town and a walk to the"Centre of New Zealand" (Which isnt actually the centre of New Zealand, they are a bunch of liars in Nelson) I didnt achieve much, other than to spend a realtively sleepless night in my tent during a storm (exciting stuff waiting to see if your tent will pop back up again after flattening on top of you in a strong gust of wind).
After Nelson I made my way to Abel Tasman National Park, where I was dreading another walk in pouring rain. However luckily the weather decided to sort itself out for a few days so I had a really nice trip, half a day kayaking and half a day walking. I had good company (A couple of Germans, standard, and a canadian) The sea was dead calm and the walking was quite easy, so all in all pretty painless, other than having to protect my lunch time muffin from a swarm of wasps (it was a muffin worth protecting though).
Next stop was over the hill to Takaka, where I wandered round the town completely full of hippies (dreadlocks, tie-dye and bare feet everywhere) and the next day I spent third wheeling with a couple staying at my hostel, where we borrowed the free bikes at the hostel (after faffing for about an hour trying to find the least crap ones, which was no easy feat) and cycled to the Pupu Springs (clearest water in the world apparently), Labyrinth Rocks (A natural maze of rocks randomly full of plastic toys, mostly from McDonalds, where we mocked the fact there were maps at the beginning, didnt take one, then promptly got lost) and then drove to Farewell Spit (we'd had enough of the crappy bikes by then).
Having exhausted most of the things to do in Takaka, the next day I relocated to Paynes Ford five minutes down the road, where I stayed at a place called Hangdog; a camp full of climbing bums (including Nathan). After initially being distracted by the toilet walls full of writing (mainly focussed around how to lose and gain "Hippie Points") I headed to the crag (conveniently close to the campsite) and cornered some people to climb with. I spent the next four days climbing in Paynes and the near-by sea cliffs in the varying weather (bit of sun, bit of rain, bit of muggy overcast, bit of freezing cold). I had some good days leading and other not so good days (the day spent on the sea cliffs involved getting stuck forever on the first climb, getting rained on mid climb, sweeping a whole ledge of dust directly into my eye and getting super scared over nothing) but all in all Paynes Ford was pretty awesome. A mixture of bad weather forcast and wanting to carry on travelling made me leave, but I will definitely be heading back.
From Paynes I drove to Westport; nothing overly notable happened other than Ron struggling severely on some hills and having a couple of stop offs, one at Harwoods Hole (a big hole) and one at New Zealands biggest Swing bridge (which seemed surprisingly treacherous in the rain) just to stretch my legs. Soon enough I arrived at Westport at the exact same time as the Kiwi Experience Bus (nooooo a bus full of people to compete with to check in) but got a nice suprise when three of the Danish people we met in Australia Multiple times stepped off the bus (it really is a small world). They were in a group of 7 other Danish People, so I spent the evening being thoroughly confused by all the Danish being spoken. luckily however enjoying lesagna, drinking cider and playing Jenga can be done in any language.
Now after having an exciting day in Westport, filled with thrilling things like doing laudry and going on a coastal walk near a seal colony (conclusion; seals are dull) I am ready to continue my road trip down the West Coast. Sandflies here I come.