Wednesday, March 18, 2009

NW corner of South Island

Visiting Farewell Spit and the Golden Bay area - there are masses of interesting birds - including godwits getting ready to migrate - gathering along the vast sand spit that extends out from here - got here yesterday and walked as far as one is allowed out onto the spit along the bay area and across huge sandunes and back along the outer beach - weather was good until the end when a storm blew in and heavy rain - was lucky to time in just right!
Am staying at a lovely backpackers and will stay tonight too and then head back to Nelson and back to Picton on Sunday and then Wellington and the north island next week -
Discovered that it was way too far to cycle out here and to take a bus would limit me in where I could explore so rented a car at a very reasonable price in Picton and got here safely - the roads are amazing - so many twisty and super steep hills - the Takaka hill was memorable in a car even - can't imagine that one on a bicycle!
So since I last blogged I've taken the bus to Chrstchurch from Dunedin, visited the Antartic Centre which was really interesting - lots to see and they have a room that simulated -18c - eveyone gets dressed up in parka and stands there waiting for the artic winds and cold to arrive - reminded me of a bunch of penguins - I must say that being a true Canadian who has experienced much colder temperatures - esp memorable waiting for the bus in Edmonton - I wasn't as wowed as most of the participants who obviously hadn't even seen frost or snow before! Thre were lots of very interesting facts and videos to watch - I thought it was very worthwhile -
I called Peter and Katy's friends Sue and Brian Storey - he is a researcher in the arctic when he is not teaching at university in Christchurch - had a nice chat with them both.
Stayed at a backpacker "The Jail" that was a jail until 1990's! It was a neat place! Did I mention I stayed in an "Assylum" ealier - poor people who had to live there but as a backpacker it was good! I could leave whenever I wanted!
So on from Christchurch on the best train ride I've been on - along the coast and up to Picton - spectacular -
Friend Rrobert met me in Picton and I camped at his friend Dee's home. Went out exploring and had a lovely lunch and glass of famous Sauvignon Blanc - so many winderies around this Marlborough region.
Next dayy took of on the Queen Charlotte Track - getting a water taxi to Ships cove - where Captain Cook moored 5 times - then 71 km to Anakiwa to another water taxi - stayed at 2different and delightful "huts" that I had all to myself and another "Treetops" backpacker that was surrounded by tree ferns - Fabulous vegetation and lovely views although one day was socked in with cloud - overall the weather was pretty good - and the last day the sun was shining which made the water even more tourquoise.
Back to Picton last Sunday and then rented a car and have driven out here. Planning to stop in Nelson for a day+ to explore - it looks like a lovely city.
I stopped and hiked on the famous Abel Tasman tramp for a day - just going in from the southern entrance and walking up to Anchorage Bay - beautiful day and wonderful white/yellow sand beaches and vivid tourquise water - I even went swimming! it was a good 25+km walk but fairly flat and very doable and I totally loved it. Aren't I the lucky one when I hear there has been snow again in Vancouver.
Thinking about all my family and friends feeling extra lucky to have this opportunity to escape from the daily newspaper and TV news but also sending extra thoughts and love to those of you who are having health challenges and not such an easy time of it right now. It makes me appreciate even more all that I have to be thankful for.
hugs - Angela

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