Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Kayaks and Head Banging

We left to head towards Motueka on the 30th.  We planned to drive up about 6 hours to Motueka and then camp 2 nights. While there we were going to do a big kayaking trip and didn't have much else planned. Then on the 1st we planned to drive back down and along the west coast to see a wonder of the world, Pancake Rocks, and stay for the night in Greymouth. In Greymouth we didn't have much planned except our hostel and maybe a Monteiths Brewery tour.  On the 2nd we would head home through the mountains through Arthurs Pass.  Along the way we wanted to stop there and do a waterfall hike and then stop at Castle Hill (where some of Lord of the Rings was filmed!!!) and check out the boulders before we headed home.

The normal drive up was via the east coast of NZ. But we decided to do a different route and go up through the middle of NZ through the mountains because Andrew had never done that drive.  So off we went in to the mountains. It wasn't till we hit the mountains that we remembered the weather forecast and started to regret our decision.  Sunny on the east coast...rain in the mountains. Not sure what we were thinking. It was still absolutely beautiful though! We stopped for lunch at Mangarata (I think) and had some 'rubbish fish and chips' as Andrew said...but on the plus side...I did find an Andrew coke :)

After lunch we continued on until we hit Motueka around 5 or 6pm.  Its a small town, close to the coast.  We were staying at Fernwood Holiday Park. Cute little campsite with very nice people running it.  We parked at our spot and started setting up our site. We had a horrible tent...and horrible NEW air mattress that deflated on us...and barely fit in our little tent. But we really didnt care too much. Well, Andrew did get very angry at the tent poles. Scared the neighbors. But whatever, we got it up haha.  After setting up the tent we went to the grocery store for some food for the night and for breakfast the next day.  We ended up with local beer, Mac's, some granola bars, some chips and my craving of the night, salami and cheese. I think I was needing it because its our Hofland tradition to have pea soup and good cold cuts for dinner Christmas I had to go at least half way and get the cold cuts ;) After that we walked to the beach where there wasn't really a beach...but there was a neat pool that was made with sea water in it. Interesting. Then we walked back, ate some salami and cheese, drank a few beers and went to bed.

The next morning was an early one.  We got up around 7am to catch our 8am bus to Marahau where we were going to kayak with Abel Tasman Kayaking. We got the "Soul Food" trip...4 hours of kayaking with lunch and a guide and what turned out to be pretty nice weather! We started by going up towards Fishermans Island, skimming the coast.  Then we cut over to Adele Island, a natural reserve for bird wildlife :) They even used to have kiwi birds there for a while, putting them there to help them survive in the wild without predictors to attack them.  The kiwi bird is native to NZ, but when the Maori and English came over and brought predators and burnt down forests, they started to become extinct because over time, the kiwi birds lost their ability to fly because they didn't need to escape anything.  NZ was a predator free island with mostly birds.   Now there aren't any officially wild kiwi birds...they are working hard to bring back the population of them though as best they can.  It's just hard when they don't have many natural defenses anymore.

We stopped on Adele Island for a little break and ended up losing one of our dutch (way to represent goon) trip goers to the wild bush..he went off on a hike through unmarked woods, got lost, and held us alllll up. Rude. BUT...if he wouldn't have held us up we would have never seen the baby seal over in the rocks! Andrew heard it and so we went over to see what it was...the cutest seal popped its head out to see us! ADORABLE! I melted. It was cryiiing and crying for its mom. It was all alone. The guide didn't seem worried so we weren't either.  The next stop was Watering Cove for lunch (picture above of us in our snazzy kayaking outfits). We had lamb tortillas with potato salad and chocolate cake for dessert :) Not bad! We hung out, re-grouped and then off we went back around the outside of Adele Island.

After we got around our guide decided that since we were super quick on our first half of the trip, we would lollygag a bit before heading back. When we finally decided to head back the wind and weather took a turn. The wind went in the opposite direction of us, kicking big waves in our faces. It was so difficult to paddle! I was soaked! And couldnt see...yay contacts. I was miserable. Thank God we made it.  I almost gave up haha. And almost killed Andrew in the process for not paddling in sync with me...grr. But we made it to the end, covered in water and mostly salt.

We bused back to the campite and took a nice 50c hot shower and decided to go out with Andrew's sister, who happened to be in town for a New Years Eve rock concert by Shihad (and various other artists I've also never heard of).  We figured, its better then nothing, and tagged along. Wasn't my typical concert. But it was a lot of fun pretending to be an avid headbanger ;) New Years hit and the concert pretty much ended. We were back in our beds for a much needed rest after the long day we had...and our air mattress didn't deflate tooooo bad.

Happy 2013! Next trip was to Greymouth...

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