On to Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand and here we had chance to just catch up on some sleep and relax for a day, taking in some of the sights and visiting Te Papa museum, before taking the ferry over to the South Island.
A short ferry ride later and we found ourselves on the South Island and the Marlborough region. Driving to Kaiteriteri through the wine growing region we passed through miles of vineyards and hops. Stopping at one of the vineyards there we were able to sample some of the local wines. Arriving in Kaiteriteri we all rushed to catch up on some washing, having been fooled by our bus driver that the ferry would offer free laundry during our crossing! A few beers in our room that night and up early the next morning we caught the sea shuttle ferry further up the coast to the Abel Tasman National Park, via Split Apple Rock. With just over an hour to make the most of the trails and lookouts, we raced along the tracks covering just a small corner of this great national park. In hindsight it would have been nice to have more time here to explore the park and be able to do some of the activities on offer here.
The next few days were pretty quiet as far as activities went as we made our way down the West coast of the South Island along State Highway 6 that stretches 435km along the Tasman shoreline. On the way we stopped off at Cape Foulwind and Tauranga Bay for a short walk along the coast to one of New Zealand’s largest seal colonies. We also stopped off at Punakaiki famed for its Pancake Rocks and blowholes, named after the way the limestone rocks have formed what looks like piles of thick pancakes through a layering-weathering process.
However, the evenings were certainly not quiet as we headed towards Lake Mahanipua and the Poo Pub. Stopping off in Greymouth to get some supplies and also to get kitted out for the legendary fancy dress party at Les’ pub. Every night is fancy dress night here with a different theme to get the imagination flowing. Our theme was P so we spent the next couple of hours wandering up and down the high street looking in all the charity shops and toy stores for inspiration. There were a few princesses, pirates and prisoners, as well as a couple of prostitutes, and even Jimmy Saville! I opted for Pixie, so spent the hour before dinner making myself a dress out of some material I had bought in town. I was quite impressed with the end result, despite getting carried away and managing to sew up the arms! The winner of the fancy dress was Peter Pan and he won a Canyon Swing in Queenstown which he promised to do dressed as Peter Pan.