Nelson Area & Abel Tasman Park... and lots of sheep
Welcome to the South Island of New Zealand!
After spending a total of ten days in the North Island, on November 1, 2014 we arrived in the South Island via interisland ferry. The ride took about 3 hours. South Island greeted us with lots of sunshine and much warmer temperature than what we have experienced so far in NZ. The top region of the South Island (Nelson and Marlbourough) are known for sunshine and wineries.
We stayed few miles south of Nelson in a small town of Wakefield which was extremely picturesque. Green rolling hills and mountains surrounded the Airbnb house in which we rented a cozy room. There were sheep everywhere and we loved listening to them in the evening. In the morning, chirping birds woke us up. This place was so lovely that we extended our two day stay to three days.
On our first night we went for a walk in the evening and came across a lady chasing after her misbehaving tiny dog. We ended up chatting with her for about half hour. She was telling us about the town's sheep, cat and dog population as well as her life in Wakefield and family around the world. Once she found out we were from New York she asked lots of questions. Funny how people think that NYC is just like in Sex in the City or Friends or that there's crime on every corner. I love bursting those unrealistic bubbles.
Anyhow, the north region of New Zealand's South Island is known for beautiful hiking trails which we set out to explore the day after our arrival. We drove to Abel Tasman National Park and did a 4.5 hour hike along the coast. The views of the blue Tasman Sea water peeking through lush greenery were very beautiful. We often stopped to examine various trees and plants. During the entire hike we passed very few people which is one of the beauties of New Zealand.
On the following day we relaxed around the house making plans for the next part of our trip. We also went for a scenic drive in the area and even stopped by the road to take some photos of sheep and cows. While we were doing that some local guy passing by in a pickup truck stopped and looked a bit concerned. The conversation went something like this:
Local Guy: "Are you all right?"
Vlad: "Oh yeah, we're fine, just taking pictures of the cows"
Local Guy in a very surprised and somewhat suspicious voice: "For what?"
Vlad: "Hmm, for fun. It's something we don't see everyday where we're from"
Local Guy just shook his head and drove off. He probably thought we were some silly city folk. And he was right.
And that sums up our stay in the Nelson region. Next stop - colder climates of Franz Joseph Glacier.
We took a ferry to get from the North to the South Island.
The interisland ferry was very big. View from the ferry. First glimpse of the North Island. South Island is known for its wineries. Here are some wine bushes and a few rugby balls. When driving in New Zealand we stop very frequently to look at the beautiful views. Our Airbnb room was very cute. It opened up to a deck on which we sat on in the cold NZ evening drinking beer while wearing gloves. View from the driveway. Not too shabby. View from a nearby hill. Cute little lambies. Hello again! Someone's due for a haircut! Oh hi, you got some grass for me? Round fella. On our first night the sky was super pink. It looked like cotton candy. Abel Tasman National Park - beginning of our hike. The hike trail kept close to the shore. Some people opted for exploring the park on horses. Glimps of the water. When we began our hike the tide was low. On our way back, 4 hours later, it came up and the water covered most of this area. Lone hiker. Silver ferns were everywhere.
The hike was very pleasant and for the first time in a long time we were actually warm. At Apple Tree Bay. This was our turning point. Fun fact: you can actually camp on this beach. Relaxing at the beach. There were lots of interesting things on this beach. I found tiny crab legs everywhere! Top side of a silver fern. Bottom side of a silver fern.
Developing fern. Vlad said it reminded him of Cinnabon. Back at the beginning of the trail. We really like this valley and thought the light was very magical. Camper vans are a popular means of traveling around Australia and New Zealand. We saw this fun campervan parked outside of a burger place The Fat Tui and actually met the newlyweds, who turned out to be musical theater actors from New York! We chatted with them for about an hour and exchanged travel advice. What a small world. Sheep are one of my favorite NZ attractions. Cows are pretty cute too. They graze freely on green paddocks (NZ english for fields). City folk feeding cows.
Next stop, Franz Josef Glacier.
Oh man, those kiwi lambs have stolen my heart. I'd stop to take pics of those lambs ANYTIME ANYWHERE. The cows are cute too - that local was just hating!
haha love the story about the cows :)
i can just smell the fresh air there! the views are priceless!
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