We drove the steep and windy road to find some great views of the turquoise sea backed by mountains and of course the Marlborough Sounds
. As brief as this blog is this had taken up most of the day. We then headed up another peninsular to get more great views but little or no photographing opportunities. By this time I was tired and bored of driving but we had to drive back to Nelson and towards the Abel Tasman Peninsular. Again amazing sights and it had turned out to be a lovely day. We arrived in Abel Tasman to find golden beaches and a still warm evening. After searching for some free camps we could only find one DOC site about 50km away so visited a commercial site. It was far too expensive at £30 per night so despite the signs we dumped our rubbish used the loos and decided we were left with no option but to drive the many km's to the DOC. That was until we found another campsite which was actually a Christian campsite. There was nobody at reception just a sign saying park up and we will catch up with you. Lady E suggested this might even be a free nights camp as we would have to leave early in the morning and there was no method of leaving cash. Stealing from religious folk indeed terrible.
We cooked before it got dark and had a prawn and chicken red curry which was a lovely change to chicken red curry. Hey we really know how to be radical. We used the paste supplied by a Thai lady back in Auckland which turned out to have a real kick. The lady therefore could not finish much to my annoyance. I therefore had to eat the remnants of hers. Andy 5 bellies indeed!! It wasn’t my fault she made me eat more!! We finished the night off by watching a film, Smart People, which both really enjoyed along with a few 50 cent beers from the bargain bin at Countdown.
We woke up after a rainy night and set off driving in the rain and the fog. Today was going to be a bizarre day as we knew most of it would be driving back up to catch what we had missed from our late arrival in Picton. We planned to do the scenic coast road back to the North East and head back across to Abel Tasman in the North West. The early morning drive was fairly miserable with rain and fog but it did start to clear up. We arrived in Nelson and restocked the van for a few days as we expected it to be quite remote. An assortment of reduced price prawns and chicken, that quite frankly were ridiculously cheap about 250g of prawns cost less than a pound. We set off and drove around Nelson which was a really nice place, it is called a city but is smaller than Leigh by size of the population. After a bit of exploring we headed across the coastal route through Havelock, the Green Lipped Mussel capital of New Zealand (which quite frankly other than a mussel restaurant I have no idea how it got this title as there was no sign of mussels.)