Exploring the West Coast

From Picton to Nelson, the Abel Tasman National Park and all the way south to Fox Glacier through Punakaiki… read on!

05/02/’16: I’m on my first InterCity bus trip and it’s fun! Nice surprise is that the driver tells us all about the places we ride through. Maintaining the nature of New Zealand the way it is, is really important to them. Not only when you enter the country in the airport (checking your hiking shoes for soil and so on), but also poison trees (hand by hand) that don’t belong there to recover the original nature. Because those trees attract birds from the northern hemisphere, so now those birds will return where they came from.

DSCN4577Another fact. Marlborough is the largest wine production area in NZ (60%). We’re driving through it right now. I want to do the bicycle tour in Blenheim on the way back to the north. They give you a bicycle with a basket and a mobile phone. So if you’re either too drunk to ride or you bought too many bottles they will pick you up! And it’s good that they even built a cycle path alongside the road to protect the drunken cyclists haha. I’m already looking forward to it. Seems cool to me!

The right way of dodginess
Arriving in Nelson a bearded man from the Costum House hostel picked me up from the bus stop. Alister, almost 40, hippie all the way. He stopped at a place I thought was a car repair shop, but we had arrived at the hostel. Looked kind of dodgy, but the owner was very friendly. And there was everything you needed. I went to the supermarket, which was all the way back to the city centre. Luckily I could walk it without my backpack. Prepared my food and went out to the wharf next to the hostel to watch the sunset. Stunning!!

Coming back to the hostel, I had some nice talks with other backpackers and decided to book my next bus rides and hostels. Omg, all the hostels in Wanaka and Queenstown already fully booked for the next week! So I made an account on Couch Surfing and found a kind of house/guesthouse with some good reviews in Wanaka. First time for everything! One problem solved! I also found a hostel in Queenstown for 2 nights, but for the Saturday everything is booked. I really had to go to sleep, I had to wake up at 06.00 to go to the Abel Tasman National Park. So I’ll deal with that later.

Abel Tasman Park
After a bus ride to Kaiteriteri and a water taxi to Anchorage, at 10am the 12k track back to Marahau begun. A French guy – Romain – I met waiting in the line for the water taxi also got off the boat and we started the track together. During the track itself you could only see the rain forest, but the side tracks led us to nice look outs and beautiful beaches! Romain had downloaded an app of the Abel Tasman Park with birds, trees and plants so we went bird spotting and trying to find some interesting flowers. We heard a loud sound, there was a black bird with a white feather on his ‘chin’. We’ve spotted one! Tūī it was called. “The most common bird in this area” the app told us. Haha. Bummer.
After 5 hours of walking and swimming, we thought we’d better go back to the bus stop and take another swim there instead of taking one of the side tracks. Too bad there appeared to be no beach near to the stop. Well okay, at least we spotted one more native bird, the white bearded heron! The girl passing by didn’t seem that impressed: “yeah, that’s what I said, a heron” haha. In short, Abel Tasman was nice!

Returning back to the hostel we sat down at the waterside of Nelson to drink some beers and to jump of the wharf (after another hour of walking to the city centre and back to buy some beers and check in Romain at his hostel – that was way better than mine!). After he left, I played some cards with a German guy and later that night we went to have some more beers in the city centre (jep, another hour…). Why not! Had to sit in the bus for 10 hours the next day, so better enjoy it now ;). We went to a street that reminded me of Callela/Alanya and all that kind of places. Only drunk 18/19-year olds in really short dresses that were way too tight. Luckily there was live music, so we went dancing. Or well, I was at least. Turned out all the young people didn’t know the songs that they were playing: Led Zeppelin, Bob Marley.. And even Robin Williams with Angels didn’t ring a bell. I felt old but satisfied haha. I’m really curious how they could even afford to go to New Zealand at that age and drink all nights!

Yummy rocks & where is the ice?!
Taking the normal InterCity busses in New Zealand is almost the same as a guided tour. They tell you all about their native trees and you stop to be able to go to the toilet or buy some food. Or they stop at random fish farms. Sometimes a bit too often, but okay. The bus from Nelson to Fox Glacier luckily also stops in Punakaiki, where we could walk around for 15 minutes to take a quick look at the Pancake Rocks. That was pretty cool!

After 10 hours I arrived at my destination. Fox Glacier, a town existing out of 2 or 3 streets. I asked for an ATM, there was none.. Oops! They told us on the bus apparently, but I fell asleep. I was so glad this time my credit card worked. (A new one is waiting for me in Wellington, finally). I stayed at the Ivory Towers hostel, room 5. The best room 😉 we were staying there with a Swiss girl, a Canadian guy, an Austrian girl and 2 Irish brothers. Big fun. But since I was tired from the bus ride and all the walking I did the day before, I went to bed early. Earplugs in, eye mask on and I slept like a baby while the others were talking and laughing for another hour or so.

The next day I went to see the glacier with Emma, an Australian girl (or woman, somewhere between 34 and 39, she wouldn’t say ha). My legs were still sore. I was very tempted to get a taxi for 12 NZ$ – that would’ve saved me 2 hours of walking – but I’d didn’t. The walk itself was nice. Through the woods, in between the mountains, aside a beautiful blue green lake, over rocks, and there we were. A bit disappointed by the glacier we took some photos and made our way back home. I didn’t do anything for the rest of the day. We had a little pancake party with the roomies and telling bad jokes all evening. It was a nice day!

17/02/’16: Enjoying all the stunning views, I’m falling behind on my blogging. Already in Christchurch, and since that’s the most vibrant city I’ve seen so far, I thought let’s stay in for a day to catch up! 😉


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