Another of Chris’ Travel Fails
After the glacier area, we drove up along the West Coast towards the North end of the South Island. On the way, we stopped for a dip in Lake Ianthe before heading to the beautiful Hokitika Gorge. When we arrived at the gorge, I wanted to change into my hiking shoes but couldn’t find them. Then it hit me: I had taken them off to jump into the lake and left them under the car without picking them up again. So we had to drive one hour back to the lake, luckily recovered my shoes and then drive an hour back again to go to our next destination. Ale now makes me triple-check I have all my stuff after we leave every place.
After wasting two hours and a quarter of a tank, we arrived just in time for sunset at the beautiful Pancake Rocks. A rock formation by the coast that gets its name from its unique shape of stacked pancakes. Additionally, there are some blowholes; one of which makes a sudden sound. Since there were no cheap campsites around we had to drive another half hour to Jacks Gasthof. The last few kilometers the car made a weird sound and started to shake so we got a little concerned about that. The next morning we called the rental company and roadside assistance but since it was Saturday they wouldn’t have a solution until Monday. We didn’t have the time to wait two days so we decided to risk it and continue our journey.
Abel Tasman Road
The road to the North led us along beautiful rivers and up and down several mountains which didn’t feel too comfortable in an old, shaky car. But we arrived at the Totaranui Campsite which is the beginning or start point of the Abel Tasman Coast Track. We enjoyed the sunset and went to bed very exhausted after a long drive.
The next morning we just planned a short hike to the next beach South. After about ten minutes, we arrived at the Skinner Point Lookout and enjoyed the spectacular views of the stunning coastline before making our way to Goat Bay. Here we spent the day lying in the sun, splashing in the water, playing cards and getting bitten by sandflies. It felt like a treat to just relax one day.
The next day we made our way to Nelson where we had an appointment with a mechanic to fix the car. We spent the two-hour waiting time walking around the town and visiting the DOC office to book our ferry to the North Island and inquire what we should do the next days. We had two tracks in mind: the Nydia or the Queen Charlotte Track. In the end, we took the agents advice and did neither of those two, but drove to Harvey Bay. After watching the sunset close by at Duncan Bay we camped here for the night. In the morning, we drove to Penzance Bay to accomplish the Archer Track, a 9 km walk along the Tennyson Inlet to Elaine Bay. The person from the DOC told us that this area is more popular amongst locals but we were still surprised to not have seen one single person on the campsite or the trail. Especially because the path was a very easy walk through a beautiful forest and always along the water. Nearly every minute we could have stopped to take a picture of the stunning view. After 2.5 hours we arrived at Elaine Bay where we had a yummy packed lunch and a dip by jumping from the jetty into the water. The only sad thing about the day was that we had to leave and couldn’t stay to enjoy the sunset and the campsite right on the bay.
Queen Charlotte Drive
After arriving back at the car we made our way towards Picton from where we were taking the ferry the day after. We found a lovely, cheap campsite directly next to the Okiwa Bay. Here we spent the afternoon and a nice chilled evening. The next morning we relaxed and caught up on writing before catching the ferry at midday to Wellington.