11th – 14th July 2016
After our 3 hour ferry crossing we were finally on the south island – forget all about the maori culture, geothermal activity and volcanos it was time to switch things up. Cue the dramatic mountainous scenery, adrenaline packed activities and stunning landscapes.
We had a few stops on our way to Kaiteriteri, the first being at Pelorus River – the filming location for the well known dwarves barrel scene from the Hobbit. Unfortunately because one side of the bridge was shut we couldn’t get the pictures we really wanted so the ones below had to do!
Our second stop was in Nelson where we had time to do some grocery shopping before heading straight into the small town of Kaiteriteri – one of the gateways to the Abel Tasman National Park. Our evening here was very quiet apart from a few beers in the bar!
We had the opportunity to do a number of activities the next morning including a kayaking trip into the Abel Tasman NP. We didn’t choose to do any of them so instead went for a walk along the beautiful beach.
We left Kaiteriteri around 11 and headed towards Nelson Lakes National Park. We stopped at Nelson Lake for a good hour or so, had lunch and took loads of pictures. Daniel and a few other people from our bus decided they were going to get ‘that picture’ and jump into the lake which was only 5 degrees! I must admit the pictures and videos are pretty cool but there was no way I was jumping into water that cold especially with hundreds of eels swimming about!
We arrived in Westport late afternoon and checked into our hostel ‘Bazils’ which much to our delight gave us free unlimited wifi! I actually do not have a single picture of my time in Westport as the evening we arrived we literally sat in the common room playing cards before heading to the pub and then we left very early the next morning, so I wouldn’t exactly rave about my time there BUT if you go during summer months you may be tempted to have surf lessons or go paddle boarding, I however was not because of the freezing cold weather and rain!!
So anyway, shortly after leaving the hostel we stopped to do the ‘Cape Foulwind Walkway’ which was really beautiful and we saw some seals but the weather was rubbish so it was very cold and wet. Our next stop was a walk to see the Pancake rocks, however, due to the torrential rain most our group decided to sit it out and instead head to the cafe for pies and hot chocolates!
Our third stop of the day was in Greymouth as that evening we would be arriving in Lake Mahinapua where every single kiwi bus that passes through has a fancy dress party so we needed costumes! Our theme for the evening was the first letter of our name… much to Daniels delight he could pretty much go as anything – dentist, doctor, devil, death, DJ, Darth vader, dog, Dumbledore and well the list went on. Unfortunately for me I had the choice of nurse, ninja or nun. We didn’t want to spend a lot on costumes so went with the easiest options – death and a ninja.
We arrived at Lake Mahinapua around 4 and checked into our rooms. At 6 we all made our way down to the kitchen area for a family roast dinner. Afterwards we all sat around and had a few beers. As it is only kiwi experience that use this hostel I had read online that they keep the pictures of every kiwi group in their fancy dress. This is definitely true as I found photo albums dating back to 2002 with thousands of pictures of groups in their fancy dress, it was pretty awesome. Later that evening we all went back to the room to get changed into our costumes and let’s just say the rest is history. Around 2.30am we all decided it would be a good idea to walk down to the lake, it was absolutely hillarious as it was pitch black, we were all drunk and couldn’t see a thing (except the glow worms!) I woke up the next morning in Nicolas bed upside down with a serious hangover, as did everyone else. It was honestly one of the best nights I have ever had which makes me so thankful that I chose to do kiwi experience as otherwise I never would of got the chance to go to Lake Mahinapua, or poo pub as everyone calls it.