Trip Start Jan 18, 2007
Trip End Feb 10, 2007

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Saturday, January 27, 2007

We left the North island early in the morning, admiring as we walked along Wellington's Queen's Wharf, the impressive crane built by Stothert & Pitt of Bath, just like the ones on our own Bristol harbour-side, (which I can see from my office window as I type).

Our first glimpses of the South island were of the magnificent rising hills of the Marlborough Sound, as the Bluebridge ferry 'Santa Resina' glided silently towards Picton. This set the benchmark for some of the most stunning landscapes that we have ever seen. From Picton, we scrambled to catch the last bus to Marahau , North of Nelson, and marking the Southern end of the Abel Tasman National Park track.

The camp-site at Marahau is set in paradise, and just like paradise, there's a little extra temptation; they sell 'Big Bikkies'!

Over the hillside to the West, the sun was setting as we arrived, casting soft long shadows across the densely wooded slopes surrounding the bay. Then, looking across the calm Abel Tasman bay, it glanced the rooftops of Nelson, beneath the hazy silhouette of the volcanic hills beyond.

This evening, we finally got to use the tent after the disappointment of Tongariro. First though, the charmingly random pitch numbering system lead us to circumnavigate the whole site, and in doing so, meet many of our fellow campers. Everyone was very friendly and helpful, and we became aware that we were spending a lot of time chatting, and not enough time finding a home for the night.

Finally we located our pitch (no.27; just in behind pitches 52 and 53 as I recall), and unfurled our gleaming clean tent for the first time on the trip. Many people had warned us before our visit, that New Zealand's Bio-security protocol on entry to the country, was bordering on the fanatical, so we'd cleaned every last smudge of English mud from the ground-sheet and pegs before the trip. It seemed a shame to get it all dirty again.
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