South Island Beginnings
Yo! We made it to the South Island! We took the ferry from Wellington down to Picton (3 hrs.) and drove to Nelson to camp out for the night. We spent some extra time in Nelson to try to get Vandalf checked out. He’s been giving us some trouble, so we thought it would be best to try to take care of it before traveling to the least populated parts of New Zealand! We were parked up at a cricket field and were able to walk to a swimming hole called the Black Hole! I should say before we went there, we thought we could comfortably walk to the grocery store (about a mile) but didn’t account for the fact that the sun was out (not a flipping cloud in the sky) and we had almost no shade all the way there. So on our way back, we stopped at the swimming hole, put our groceries down, and jumped in. Fully clothed. No regrets. We then completed our walk back to our van and proceeded to hunt for shade and make some lunch! Also, we ended up getting Vandalf “fixed” for only $80 dollars, so that was a plus!
From Nelson, we started our trek up to the northern-most tip of the South Island. We stopped at a site near Tasman (the town, not the park), then continued up to the top! We walked to Wharariki Beach and saw our first seals!! They are very weird creatures. We got probably within 10 feet of one (on accident) that was sleeping behind a rock. We had an intense staring match for like 10 minutes before it ran into the ocean. have you seen a seal run? WEIRD. Go watch it right now, you won’t regret it. Moving on, after the hike we went around to the west coast and stayed in a free site right where the ocean and a river meet. We stayed there for 2 nights before heading back up and around again. It was so nice because very few “freedom campers” put in the effort to go that far out of civilization, so it was mostly just us, and a few locals who came in for the day. There is only one road that swings up and around the top of the South Island, and it only goes a little ways down the west coast before you have to turn around (which is where we went cause we’re ballers). The only downside of sites in the South Island is the sandflies. They’re about the size of gnats, and their bites are so itchy and last too long.
We did some pretty hikes in Kahurangi National park. We actually did our first hike to a hut! We hiked about 2 hours up a mountain, and stayed in a hut with 3 other people. (This hut experience was incredibly weird, and if you want to know about it, just ask one of us and we will gladly tell you all about it) We did an extra hour to some beautiful alpine lakes (to get away from the weirdness) but also to take in the beautiful views! We did another ‘’hut-hike” in Able Tasman National Park, and had the hut all to ourselves, which was such a cozy time, and way better than the other place! We made our way down to St. Arnaud where we were hoping to get another hike to a hut in today, but sadly our dear Vandalf decided he wasn’t as fixed as we thought. So, after staying the night in St, Arnaud, we are back up in the Nelson area, hoping to solve this Vandalf problem once and for all!
A Fond Farewell to you all.