How are things? Fall hasn’t even started and I already forgot how the sky can be so blue and the sun shine so high… Last week, I started the South Island with Picton, and today, we reach Nelson and the Abel Tasman National Park.
We took the Intercity from Picton, with no idea really on where to sleep, which I find quite surprising now seeing how organized we were. I guess we must have had a phone problem, or maybe we just got lazy, I don’t really remember. All I know is that we got off the bus in Nelson where we had to spend one night before living to the National Park. There was a lot of people from different hostels with mini vans waiting at the station to pick people up, or see if they could get more customers. We randomly picked The Palace, probably because everything seemed to be free on their ad… I don’t think it was on the Lonely Planet and what a mistake! That was an amazing hostel!! One of the first place that made me really want to embrace the hostel and backpacking life. It is right in the heart of Nelson, a neat little city with lots of shops and coffee places. It is set in an old wooden house and when you get in, it’s like you’re entering your grandma’s house: the carpets, the flowery wall papers, the lamps, the tiles in the bathroom walls, etc. All the rooms have a name, we were in the Cathedral room, where we litteraly froze all night, but we did not mind everything else was perfect! The guy at reception was lovely and so helpful, he advised us to book a kayak experience in the Abel Tasman, which we did.
The best place to get to the National Park is Marahau: it is the nearest from the start of the trail. We booked the Old Macdonald’s farm, mainly because it is also a lama farm and a little because I confused it with MacDonald’s… It was… definitly a challenge! It was more of a campsite than a hostel, we had a little bungalow with spider webs and I liked to imagine no spiders. The showers, toilets and kitchen were outside, which made it an ‘experience’ given the temperature…
Abel Tasman is said to be the sunniest place of New Zealand, and I believe it. What a weather we had! We went on a hike in the park the first day and on the second day we started with a kayak tour to see the seals. They are such fun and cute animals, they swim around your kayak, play with your paddles and one even jumped on top of the kayak to pose in front of us! We had lunch on the beach, which seemed like a good idea till I realized the sandflies were upon me. I had shorts on so no other options than leaving as fast as possible. I know too well how sandflies can ruin a trip so not risking it again. I was a bit mad at the kayak company for taking us there when I realized the beach was called ‘sandfly bay’ but anyway, we did the way back walking, taking the sun and the view, chatting and laughing.