Because we had no Internet last night, I am posting this a day late. I wrote it up in a timely fashion, but couldn’t post it until Oct. 13.
What a pleasant surprise to awaken and not hear the rain hitting Jucy’s roof! And better than that, there was blue sky and incredible views of the Seaward Kaikoura Range right behind our camp ground! The mountains rose steeply and were snow covered at the tops! Just what we came to see!
Again, we did a fair amount of driving today. We headed north on Route 1 from Kaikoura and drove along the coast for a long ways. One of the highlights was stopping to see a breeding colony of seals. This meant that there were baby seals and they were all over the place. There was once set of rocks just into the surf that formed a bathtub and the baby seals were romping with each other in that! When a wave broke over the tub, the little seals jumped about with apparent joy! It was fun to watch.
We continued north, to Picton, where the car ferry from Wellington on the North Island docks. We turned west and drove a very scenic, curvy, narrow road above many sounds and bays along Cooks Strait (the stretch of water between the north and south islands). It was a spectacular drive and Jim drove so I could enjoy the views.
We continued on to the town of Nelson where we stopped for some info from the Department of Conservation on Abel Tasman National Park, our ultimate destination today. Nelson was the biggest city we saw today and we stopped to visit a couple of galleries, one featuring pottery and the other featuring woolen crafts. Both were excellent. We got our info, bought some gas, used some free Internet to let the parents know that we would be out of touch for a couple of days and moved on.
We had another spectacular drive just east of the mountains of Kahurangi NP and then an exciting drive on a gravel road into Abel Tasman NP. This park is on the western edge of the Tasman Sea and the campground is next to the beach. Because it is not the high tourist season, the campground is not very crowded. However, in the summer months, over 800 people camp here every night! It is hard to imagine! There are a number of popular hiking trails here and tomorrow we will do a 15k loop before heading out on that gravel road again.
So today has been glorious, so much different than what was forecasted! Is it too much to hope that we don’t have to hike in the rain tomorrow?
For those of you that are curious, here is what we ate for meals today, which is pretty typical camping grub. Breakfast: cold cereal with milk or yogurt, fruit and juice for Jim and tea for me. Lunch: PB&J sandwiches, fruit and chips. Dinner: Bangers (sausages) with cheese on bread, baked beans, Mac and cheese, salad and wine. Our dinners will change, but breakfasts and lunches are pretty much the same.
If we don’t have a nice kitchen or Internet room where I can work, the picnic table becomes my office!