We had an early start today as we were off to the ferry for our journey to the South Island. Bags checked, tickets collected and long wait completed we found some seats in the cafe area and I had a full English before having a little nap for the first hour or so of the journey. Towards the end with just an hour left, we were cruising through the Marlborough Sounds with mountains either side of us. I headed up to the top outside deck and hung around for as long as possible to take it all in, use my new camera to capture to magic and try and spot some dolphins. It was a pretty cloudy, windy, cold day and after 20 minutes I gave in and headed to the comfort and shelter of my seat in the cafe.
We arrived in Picton, collected our bags and were back on the bus for a scenic drive to the town of Kaiteriteri on the edge of Abel Tasman national park. It’s not much of a town but the hostel is pretty nice and we managed a walk on the beach before the sunset. The next day was beautiful and our first real hot sunny day since arriving. Lucky too as today we had a kayak trip booked. Our guide for the day was Blair from Kahu Kayaks. For three hours we kayaked through the national park on the Tasman Sea, following the coast line of a couple islands spotting seals. At first the seals are hard to spot as they’re pretty similar to the rocks they sit on but you soon get used to that and they we could see them all over. They are so adorable and playful with a couple getting very close to come say hi. Our guide soon realised how snap happy Steph and I were as we spent so long with each seal we spotted to get the perfect photo. As we’re pro kayakers though it never took us long to catch up, seriously I think we need to be in the olympics we are so good! After three hours our arms were getting sore so it was the perfect moment to stop for lunch on a small beach. This was the only thing that let the tour down. As you approach this tiny beach, it looks like some tiny private paradise but once you climb the stairs from the beach you realise every tour group comes here and it’s almost too busy to find a spot to sit on and enjoy your sandwich. From here our group split in two, half the group spent another three hours kayaking back to where we started, but three of us donned our walking gear and started the 12km track back. It was a steep climb at the start but the views were insane and it got easier. We timed it perfectly too as we arrived back at the kayak shop at the exact same time as the kayakers. We were very happy we made the decision to do the half kayak, half walk tour. We were recommended the full kayak tour but I’m not sure I could my arms could have done another three hours kayaking! Also the views from the walk were amazing where as the kayakers literally did the same return trip.
Abel Tasman and the seals are simply gorgeous, we had the best day! It definitely helped that it was 24 degrees and sunny too. After a long day, and some achy muscles we treated ourselves to $10 fish and chips (beer included) and a night of laundry!