Claire's Raleigh Adventures and Beyond... travel blog

At the site of the first rugby match in New Zealand, in...

View from the 'Centre of New Zealand'

Claire and I at the 'Centre of New Zealand' with views back...

We had a giggle at every gas station...much to the amusement of...

Walking the wide open beach at 'Rabbit Island', a recreation reserve

Another lunch at another gorgeous spot en-route to wherever!!

Another photo op. in the Golden Bay area

Farewell Spit stretching 26 km out in the distance. A major bird...

The sand dunes of Wharariki Beach on Cape Farewell

Only problem once I'd run down the dunes was walking back up...

Kayaking in the Abel Tasman National Park

In the sea for a was quite refreshing!

Paddling back along the coastline

One more incredible view of the South Island wonder it took...

From Picton we headed west to Nelson for a brief stopover at what became our only dire hostel experience of the whole New Zealand trip. Having given each other high-fives at just about every turn we took, this was a definite this as you will, but Claire ended up asking the group of fellow hostellers gathered outside our room if they wouldn't mind possibly turning down the music just a notch...we didn't even stay for a cuppa the following morning, given the kitchen looked like it hosted a mass of seething bacteria amongst the food scraps and beer bottles...!

Nelson itself, in comparison to the hostel, was too quiet (Good Friday...everything was shut, except the Easter egg shop!), so after a quick wander to a rugby field where the first game was played in New Zealand and a brisk walk up a hill, to a spot named as the centre of New Zealand, we took to the road and decided to stop off for a couple of nights at the small (population 1,200) town of Takaka, from where we would be able to explore the Golden Bay and Farewell Spit areas. It was back to Bermuda rules on arrival, with all the shops being shut and no alcohol served on Sundays, but our hosts, a Kiwi/Scottish couple more than made up for that with their welcoming fire, interesting fellow guests to chat to and a totally relaxed home-atmosphere.

The photos of our day at Farewell Spit and Wharariki Beach are self explanatory...all quite stunning, even with a bit of cloud cover. That night we totally indulged with fish and chips from the local chippy (served to us by an English bloke) and a night at the movie theatre...small town style with sofas and bean bags to relax on!

Our final day in the north of the region was spent kayaking in the Abel Tasman National Park, from a little spot called Kaiteriteri and from where we paddled past 'Split Apple Rock' and found a totally deserted beach for an hour or so (once some other kayakers had overturned a couple of times whilst trying to leave!).

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