After a night in Wellington I took the Interislander Ferry to the South Island to continue my adventure, starting in Picton. The ferry sails down the Cook Strait through the Marlborough Sounds. It was a pretty calm day, the sky was blue with a few clouds and the Tasman Sea was greeny-blue. Wellington looked great, spreading out up Mount Victoria along to hills of the Botanic Gardens and beyond, I love Wellington. Out of Wellington harbour, into open sea, I sat inside and chatted to my new German friend who had been working teaching German in Wellington for 3 months. Once we could see the South Island clearly we ventured out on deck again to see the stunning Marlborough Sounds- houses that could only possibly be reached by boat, hill and mountains rolling all the way into the water and small islands that jutted out of the water in interesting shapes.
Picton was dead. Fortunately I was sharing a room with a guy and girl from Germany who were very friendly and we played cards, drank tea and went for a moonlit walk.
Wednesday morning I joined the Magic Bus, the vehicle that was going to take me to all of these exciting places that I have heard so much about. It was great as soon as I found the bus I made a friend. As soon as we stopped for a wine tasting session not long out of Picton, I made another two. As we were dropped off in Nelson, settled into the hostel and then me and an Irish girl set off to walk to the Centre of New Zealand. The sign said 20 minute walk it was more like 30, it was all up hill, very steep and I started to wheeze, but wow it was worth it. To finally get to the top and be met by views stretching out across Nelson to the sea to the mountains behind, it was lovely. At the top we met another, out of breathe couple that were also on the bus, we chatted the whole way down. At the bottom we met another two people from the bus, 6 in total standing in a park chatting and arranging the evening entertainment, a pub to watch a rugby match.
Thursday I went to Abel Tasman National Park for some sea kayaking in the Tasman Sea, with Kahu Kayak- an excellent little company that I found in the Rough Guide, they picked me up from Nelson which is about an hour away, provided me with a delicious lunch and all the kayaking equipment I needed. Kirstin the lady who manages the office and deals with all the bookings, made me feel so welcome, so comfortable and so looked after that I knew very quickly that I was going to love this day. We set off at about 9am paddled passed Fisherman’s Island, landed in Apple Tree Bay for a cup of tea, looking out to Adele Island, which was our next kayaking spot, we paddled out and as we reached the Island we could see seals; play fighting, sunbathing and dancing in the water, it was as if they performed for us.
We then had lunch on Observation Beach and I went for my first swim in the sea, I can’t yet say ocean but that will come. We saw a really great rock formation that looked like a kiwi bird dipping its beak into the water. This is where we met out water taxi/ speed boat to Torrent Bay where we would do our hike through the forest and across the swing bridge.
While walking I got chatting with another member of the group who is also German but living in Shanghai and working as a Trainer and a Coach. His coaching hat is working with people to deal with whatever problem they are facing, by asking questions and working with them to see progression and achievement in their life. We also talked about why countries like India, who have so much poverty, still seem to be so happy and why we seem to be so unhappy most of time. We discussed how no-one is actually bad they are just following the wrong path. It is these discussions add greatly to the experience for me because they seem more important than idle chit chat but seem more profound in nature. It made me think of my dad, we have these great discussions often on family walks and it’s so good to know that other people all over the world think this way.