7 February 2011

Nelson & Abel Tasman National Park

Nelson's Tahunanui Beach

En route to Nelson - our last visit to a South Island city - we made an obligatory stop at one of the hundreds of vineyards. Pam enjoyed the tasting so much, she stumped up for a bottle of the Sauvignon Blanc (even I liked so it must be good!)

Tasting Marlborough's finest!
Our first evening in the city was a strange one. We walked around the streets and saw barely anyone else or an open restaurant or shop; it was like a ghost town. With nothing much to do, we went to the cinema and watched the disappointing True Grit, which I was surprised to learn has been nominated for 10 Oscars.

Neslon's Tahunanui Beach (Abel Tasman in the background)
Our next day was much more fun. With the temperatures soaring, we went straight to Tahunanui Beach, a huge expanse of sand with calm, shallow water and a backdrop of mountains.

We also ate our way around the brilliant Saturday market. Fresh cherries, cloudy lemonade, spring rolls, stir-fry chicken and sugar roasted almonds (possibly my favourite thing ever) were all devoured with aplomb.

Watching street performers in Nelson
In truth, Nelson was far from our favourite stop in New Zealand, however, it is the gateway to the Abel Tasman National Park (the country's smallest but busiest). We decided to go 'tramping', as the Kiwis call it, and arranged for a water taxi to take us to a place called Torrent Bay where we could walk the 16 kilometres back to our campsite. However, those plans were to change...

Cleopatra's Pool in the Abel Tasman National Park
The journey on the water taxi was so much fun! Sitting on the back of the speedboat, we got whizzed around a few of the sights by the skipper before we arrived at Torrent Bay under blue skies as the temperature edged closer and closer to the 30 degree Celcius mark.

Taking a rest!
After a tough 45 minute walk, we arrived at a stunning little place called Cleopatra's Pool. Clear water flowed between large rocks and there was even a natural waterslide. As we were desperate to cool down, we dropped everything (well, not quite everything) and went for a refreshing dip.

Anchorage (finally!)
From there, we continued on our way back to the campsite, though after a while, our 'tramp' had become more of a trudge. The sun was scorching and the heat was beginning to get unbearable. At Anchorage - the last place from where we could book a water taxi home - we did just that. We booked the last two available seats and learned that the north of the island was experiencing a heat wave and that the temperature was close to 40 degrees Celcius!

Stunning Anchorage Beach at the Abel Tasman National Park
The heat also proved too much for poor Barney, who decided he didn't want to start properly the following morning. Thankfully, the AA were able to give him the proper treatment he needed and he's back as good as new, which is just as well, as we're now heading to the North Island.

Next stop: Wellington!



  1. The Abel Tasman is our all time favourite walk - though we made it all the way back from Torrent Bay! But then we did not have those sort of temperatures to contend with!

    Which vineyard(s) did you visit? Our favourite was Hunters!

  2. I agree, the Abel Tasman walk was truly beautiful - if only we could have seen more of it!

    We only stopped at one winery. It was a Dutch owned place called Staete Landt and their wine was really tasty!

    Where did you go for your recent holiday?

  3. Fuertaventura! Good and relaxing, though the weather not so good as we hoped - still a lot better than Banchory!

  4. True Grit was a cinema classic!

  5. Maybe so, Dad, however this was a remake of the original by the usually brilliant Coen brothers.

    Fuertaventura sounds great, Paul. It's always good to escape the Scottish winter every now and then!


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