So due to the whole falling off a horse and breaking my collarbone debacle my current plan of wwoofing until winter had to be scrapped. This was the first bone I’d broken and I gotta be honest and say it totally sucks, I mean I couldn’t even tie my own hair up for goodness sake! So there was no way I could continue doing manual work in exchange for food and accommodation. So, with a check up appointment due in 4 weeks time in Christchurch I was left with a decision to make. What the hell was I going to do in those 4 weeks?!
My answer: Buy a car and go explore the South Island.
Now that easier said than done but let me tell you a load of stress went into hunting down my dream NZ car. I finally found it in the form of a silver Honda CRV aptly named Silva. It was love at first sight. At the time I was staying with some very lovely family friends of mine in Christchurch but the future adventure wagon was in Nelson. So I hopped on a bus for 8 hours to chase the dream of owning a 4WD car that I could sleep in. From there everything went smoothly and before an hour of meeting Sylvia was up she was all mine!! My first ever car! Wahoo!
So now began the mission of kitting her out for our first road trip together. Luckily the guy I bought the car off (Stefan) had a spare room going so I was able to stay in Nelson temporarily. Then after nearly a week fuelled with alcohol, beaches, river swimming holes, countless trips to warehouse, a practice run and a very lucky find in a 2nd hand store (where I purchased my mattress aka a piece of foam for $1 – score!) I was ready to leave.
The plan at this point was to head north towards Abel Tasman and the Golden Bay area before heading over to the West Coast. For the first 5 days I was accompanied by my now good friend Stefan in his new van. This was good as he could help me out of any sticky situations I got in for example getting a flat battery because I left my lights on. Oops. But Stefan had recently bought new jump leads so that situation was quickly resolved and safe to say thus far I have learnt my lesson about lights.
So one gloriously sunny Thursday afternoon we headed off to Kina Bay. A basic campsite right on the beach about half way between Nelson and the bottom part of the Abel Tasman national park. Hearing the waves gently breaking on the beach a few metres away lulled us into our first night away.
However, this peace was rudely disturbed in the early hours of the morning when a MASSIVE storm decided to obliterate the area. Normally i love the sound of the pitter-patter of the rain when camping but this was on another level. I mean the car was rocking from the wind, it sounded like someone was playing the bongos on my roof and there was a definite fear of the combination of the tide rising, the huge swell of the waves and the heavy rain that our cars would be swept away. That, thankfully, did not happen (although my dream said otherwise) and we awoke to gorgeous blue skies. Just kidding. We woke up to more rain, more wind and more grey skies.
So after patiently trying to wait the rain out for a few hours we finally decided to venture to the nearest town to regroup in a café. But alas that plan backfired too for a huge tree had fallen down over the one road in and out of the camp site. So we turned around and waited for 3 hours until the road was clear and funnily enough the sky was clear too.
Onwards and upwards to Marahau, a tiny village on the south end of the Abel Tasman national park.
We found a camp ground and set off to Split Apple Rock beach for a swim. Because of the storm earlier the sea was not the clear turquoise blue normally seen here but it was a beautiful spot all the same even if the water was freeeeeezing erm I mean refreshing. We treated ourselves to a meal out that evening at the local beach cafe where I tried local green mussels, yum!
Unfortunately we woke up the next day to more rain, luckily it was just rain and not wind as well. After a late start we drove up over the hills and into the Abel Tasman national park to a campsite at Totaranui. On the way we visited the Te Waikoropupu Springs which are some of the largest around with such clear water. It continued to rain on and off for the rest of the day so a lot of reading/napping was done!
The next day we planned to walk a loop through the national park however we took a wrong turn so ended up walking along the coast there and back. It didn’t really matter though as it was stunning. I mean lush green forests next to golden sands and turquoise waters. What’s not to like about this coastline?
The start of our walk was entertaining as we had to cross a tidal estuary where the tide was coming in pretty fast. We resorted to taking our boots off and pelting it across and scrambling up the bank the other side. Mission accomplished.
We walked to separation point where the Abel Tasman finishes and the Golden Bay begins. We were witness to some fur seals snoozing on hot rocks and saw how the department of conservation is trying to establish a seabird colony there.
It was a gorgeous day of swimming in paradise, and was nice not to have to drive anywhere. In the evening we made a fire from driftwood which kept the pesky sand flies at bay for once.
The next day we headed into town for brunch as our food had nearly been exhausted. It was so nice to wake up to a blue sky finally! Too soon it was time to say goodbye to Stefan as we went our separate ways. I had thoroughly enjoyed travelling together but I’m sure we will cross paths again after all NZ is pretty small, right?
But now off to begin my solo adventure! Come back soon to see what I get myself in too! Love from paradise xxx