This leg of the road trip really made up for how amazingly everything worked out on the first leg. This time around, the weather was vapid. We were complete failures when it came to organizing our food situations. And it felt like we spent eternity in the car.
I had booked two really cute little baches, one for two nights (pictured above) near Collingwood, and the other for one night (not worth picturing) in the Marlborough Sounds. The thing about secluded baches deep in the natural Kiwi landscape is this: they are not near supermarkets and they are not near restaurants.
I mean, obviously. I knew this. But it wasn’t convenient for me, so I kind of just ignored this fact until we were there, starving, isolated, exhausted, and still starving. So after our 8 hour drive, we got back in the car and drove 20 minutes to the nearest food. Battered and fried food. Didn’t even care.
The day after The Drive, we headed over to the north side of Abel Tasman National Park and yet again used the trusty guidebook to find three cool things.
Cool Thing 1: Wainui Falls and Swing Bridge, Golden Bay, NZ
Just what it sounds like, a 20-30 minute hike through beautiful rainforest, across a spectacularly Kiwi swing bridge, to a stunning waterfall. Exactly what we drove all that way to see!
|So much higher than it looks…|
Back on the road, looking out over Golden Bay:
Cool Thing 2: Limestone outcroppings, called “The Grove”, Takaka, NZ
|Wine hikes are the best hikes.|
Cool Thing 3: Rawhiti Cave, Takaka, NZ
This was a 45+ minute hike straight up the side of a hill, ending at the most impressive showing of stalactites that I’ve ever seen. Allegedly there are more than 1 million stalactites in this cave!
So imagine our surprise, when we roll up to this beach with our pizza and wine, and we are greeted with 100km winds, a bajillion seagulls, and this:
Cool beach guys. Looks exactly like the photos.
We ate our sandy pizza as fast as humanly possible, while being dive-bombed by seagulls and blinded by razor sharp sand wind. Good times.
After our relaxing time at the best beach in the world, we treated ourselves to a pint of beer at the ONLY bar for a 50km radius, then I’m pretty sure we went to bed while it was still light out.
The following morning we got the hell out of cold and rainy Golden Bay got a refreshingly early start on another day of driving. To break it up, we stopped for a little lunch and wine tasting in Montueka and Nelson.
|Cool clouds, no?|
Unfortunately, the following photo is the only one I have from the next 24 hours. It is the view from our 2nd bach.
And with that, it was finished. We drove the final 2 hours to Christchurch, and the weather turned back to pelting rain and 10 degrees (50 F). We’d come to expect as much from the weather, and decided just to be grateful for the gem of an afternoon we were handed in Kaikoura.
I had booked both baches based on the fact that they had kayaks, but it was never warm enough, or still enough to be safe to go out for a paddle. I had hoped to show Kim the jewel colored water from the tree fern paths in Abel Tasman, but it was gray and misty every day we were there. I had hoped for Tui birds, fantails, and maybe even a little blue penguin, but they were all too smart to come out in the weather we were having!
But with wine and pizza we persevered, enjoyed lots of beautiful scenery anyways, and lingered in Kaikoura, since the sun and ocean felt like a gift to us after all the rain. It was a great way to end our travels, and hopefully a sweet last memory for Kim to tuck away before hopping back on a plane to California!