Wanaka, West Coast, Wanderlust, Wine & Whales
Now that I actally have access to free, unlimited and reliable wifi, I’ll give you a wrap up of the two wonderful past weeks in NZ.
Wanaka was a very relaxed place with many Kiwis spending their vacation there. Our hostel is my no. 1 for this journey: the Wanaka Bakpaka has recently been refurbished, offers great views of the lake and has a good vibe.
Unfortunately I did not meet the owners of the Rippon Valley vineyard – certainly a great place to live, with great views of the lake and delicious wines…
On our way to Franz Josef we must have past over 20 one lane bridges, indicating how few the traffic is on the west coast! The sea is amazing and just behind throne huge mountains covered by rain forest! And at the top, Franz Josef glacier disgorges… but much of the glacier has melted and those of you who’ve already been there would be shocked as to how much has gone. If you want to walk onto the glacier you now need to take a helicopter, a rather costly affair! The day we spent at Franz Josef was the only rainy day we had in three weeks (and we were the only ones geared up with rain jackets and rain trousers while walking up to the bottom of the glacier, where the clouds and the rain prevented a proper look at it). Luckily, it was much better at 7.30 the next morning and we could actually see the glacier!
Hokitika was a pleasant stop to satisfy our daily 11 am hunger. We had the most delicious raspberry chocolate muffin at the “fire brigade” along with the daily flat white and long black!
The YHA Westport could have been my first choice if it weren’t for the bunch of teenagers (17-19 year old germans and brits are hard to take, especially in the morning)… but the room with ensuite bath on the first floor was lovely. And the walk along the coastline was beautiful: Wanderlust enthraled us again in Abel Tasman and the Marlborough Sounds. With the southeaster blowing like mad the kayak trip in Abel Tasman was far mode adventurous than expected. It was nothing like a leasure paddle and it was a bit of a challenge to cut across the waves from onetahuti beach (“now paddle as hard as you can…”, our guide told us). Once we were further out we fought our way along tonga island (saw some seal mums and their little ones) and moskito bay to bark bay for lunch. Since the waves constantly poured over us there was no way I was going to take out my camera! We decided to walk the second part on the abel tasman coast track and had a very pleasant overnight stay at the aquapackers houseboat in anchorage bay, walking back to marahau the next morning.
After a pleasant stay in Nelson, where we enjoyed some good food, town flair and listened to passer-by playing the piano on the pavement, another two days of walking on the queen charlotte track with stunning views of the Marlborough Sounds and a hilarious evening with three Kiwi ladies at Furneaux lodge followed:
We chilled in Picton, playing an appallingly round of minigolf (does that ring a bell, V.?),
and sipping some wine at several of the wineries around Blenheim.
The Kaikoura coast was all about animals: seals playing in pools
A large (18m – as large as the boat!) Sperm whale
and a crowd of playful dusky dolphins.
A marvellous three weeks, thank you Iris!!! (Eeeexcellent!)
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