Trouble on the Tasman Sea
Trip Start Jun 12, 2004
50Trip End Jan 01, 2005
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Where I stayed
Abel Tasman National Park
My bus stopped at a winery near Nelson & continued to the Abel Tasman National Park where I stayed in a tent at "Old MacDonald's Farm" complete with peacocks, pigs, cows, llamas, chickens, and french-fry eating ducks! The weather was beautiful as I did a 22 km (13+ mile), 7-hour walk on a coastal trail.
The next day was when things started getting bad. We wanted to get out on the bus that day, but the company I'm travelling with, Stray Travel, couldn't promise us a seat. So on this day, 16 of us waited til 1pm to find out we were in fact stranded at the camp for at least 2 days more
Finally, we left when the next bus came with 2 seats to spare! Our destination this day was to be Barrytown, population: 100 or so. We were going to stop and see the "Pancake Rocks", blow-holes, and a short walk called the "Truman Track." About 10 kms short of the sights and 25 kms short of Barrytown, we blew out the back right tire. First the driver found that there was no jack, so the boys found some rocks & they propped the bus up. Next, the spare tire was the wrong size. There was no way we would be travelling on that tire that night. The driver told us to hitch-hike to Barrytown, but after 1.5 hours it was dark, cold, and only half of us had been able to hitch a ride (I was lucky and had reached Barrytown to relax). Because the rest were stranded and apparently you can't leave a vehicle with belongings on the road because a theif will see it as an open invitation to rob it in NZ, he decided to drive the bus, minus a tire, into town
Most of us still wanted to see the pancake rocks, so some caught a shuttle and some hitch-hiked there (a dutch guy & I tried hitching unsuccessfully for 30 minutes & eventually begged a guy from the hostel for a ride). The rocks, beachs, and blow-holes (geyser like action from the sea and eroded rocks) was worth the trip.
From Barrytown, we headed down the west coast. I was happy to find 2 small bits of NZ Jade/ greenstone after I had looked unsucessfully for 2 hours at the Barrytown beach. We stopped at Franz Joseph glacier, but it was so rainy for 2 days I neither got to walk on the glacier or even see it. A bunch of us hung around the hostel and watched about 8 movies on TV. We drove to Haast Beach and the weather cleared up just in time for sunset. Today, we drove through Lord of the Rings country past perfect blue lakes, rivers, waterfalls, etc to arrive in Queenstown.