Trip to South Island

Sunday 18/02

Difficult wake up at 5am.

The (ferry) crossing lasts 3 hours. We all sleep (Isabelle and I on the floor, on our mattresses) most of the time, except Ludivine. The arrival in Picton is very picturesque, under the sun.

There’s a warning about a tropical hurricane approaching. It will hit the north of the South Island badly. We are advised to contact our accommodation to book extra nights in case we are blocked by the typhoon… The last typhoon indeed affected the air and land traffic.

Due to the earlier ferry, we have 3 hours to wait in Picton. Isabelle and I first enquire about the rental of a car from Nelson but it is either fully booked or it must be done from Nelson itself. We really don’t know what to do next. It seems that we won’t be able to do the Abel Tasman Coastal Track because of the weather. It is such a pity. It is one of the 9 Great Walks of NZ and one of the best treks in the world. I booked it more than 6 months ago. Once the booking for these Great Walks opens, all the places are indeed usually sold the same day. I remember: I was behind my laptop at midnight for this trek and for the Routeburn Track and I managed to get 5 places. In fact, what we have to book is the accommodation (in huts).

To further complicate our choice, I have already booked some activities (such as a canyoning day tomorrow), transportation (Intercity bus from Marahau to Nelson) and even hotel (a very nice lodge in the middle of the 4-day Abel Tasman trek).

We go to the I-SITE, to enjoy the Wi-Fi. We then grab sandwiches / salads at Subway.

We take the Intercity bus to Nelson at 1pm. The bus is nice (with Wi-Fi even) and the local driver very entertaining. The scenery at the beginning is mainly vineyards.

We arrive in Nelson around 3pm. The shuttle of Abel Tasman Canyons is waiting for us. We plan to do canyoning with this company tomorrow. I booked a full day of canyoning but it will only be confirmed after the organizers meet Jules. This experience is indeed normally for people above 12 and they first need to assess if it is suitable and safe to take Jules canyoning. So we go first to their gear depot in Motueka. It’s a short 1h ride.

People at Abel Tasman Canyons are really cool. We meet the owner, Toine. They give us the green light for Jules. He will wear 2 wetsuits: his personal one (the one he uses for diving) and the smallest one of the company. We hope he will be fine. The water is at 12-13C in this river…

They then drop us at our accommodation, the Top 10 Holiday Park where I booked a family cabin (one double bed and two bunk beds).

We go and eat in town, at Sprig & Fern Tavern, a nice typical local restaurant. A good dinner, on the terrace outside.


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