After getting off of the ferry on the south island of New Zealand, we headed west to visit the coastal paradise of Abel Tasman National Park. It was getting late, so we stopped in the small town of Motueka to get some sleep. The next morning we continued driving north to Abel Tasman. We were lucky this time with the weather and decided to do some sea kayaking. It was amazing! Definitely a must do on the south island.
Abel Tasman is the smallest but one of the most spectacular National Parks of New Zealand. While kayaking we were impressed by the forest extending right down to the water’s edge, an Indiana Jones like scene. The tiny, private, golden beaches were absolutely stunning. In addition, we were lucky to find some baby seals! They were super cute and playful. Adam patted the water trying to make them come closer and they came over to play with him without hesitation. It was a lot of fun! I would like to come back to camp and kayak for three or four days during our next visit to New Zealand.
Our last stop on the north Island before we take the ferry to the south island. Although it’s hard to get the full grasp of a place when you only spend a few days there, Wellington seems to show off kiwi creativity and festivity mixed with fabulous landscapes and natural surroundings.
Some of my favorite shots from our walk around downtown.
I can now understand Frodo! Although the evil land was in real life a beautiful and peaceful park, it was still quite a challenge to hike it.
Part of our preparation before coming to New Zealand included watching all of the LOTR movies. It was exciting to see where some of the movie was actually shot. One is Tongariro National Park, centrally located on the north island, southwest of Lake Taupo. Keep reading!
It’s time for some heart pumping adventure! After our Panama cave experience we really wanted to do one of the many spelunking options that this area offers. After some research, we went with the Black Abyss tour.
This excursion begins with an abseil 35 meters into a black hole in the ground; the entrance to the cave. Immediately followed by a rappel and zip-line through the dark we found ourselves deep inside the cave (our guides made sure to add extra excitement to the blind zip-line!). Keep reading!
It’s official; we are living in a car – an old, white station wagon with an AM radio. But it’s not just any car, more like an Optimus Prime for travelers. It comes with a gas stove, a complete set of kitchen tools, bed linens, two mattresses and curtains. When it’s time to sleep, the back seats go down, a wooden insert folds over to create a makeshift platform for the mattresses with just enough room for Adam’s legs. Jealous?!
Dirty and stinky after two days of traveling, we arrived at the airport in Auckland, New Zealand. Exhausted with no real idea of what to do we made our way to an information center at the airport looking for some guidance. With a big smile on his face, an old, cheery man welcomed us. He was excited to find out we were from San Diego and filled us in on his many adventures while traveling there and had us entertained with his witty stories and thick accent. Keep reading!
Day five: Always save the best for last! It is still dark when we wake up to start our last day in Torres Del Paine, it will take us an hour to get to the view-point for the Torres. Everyone wants to see these famous mountains turning shades of red and orange at sunrise so we are joined by a line of people headed up while trying not to fall in the dark. Adam and I are sharing one headlamp so it’s a team effort for us. A guide gave us the following recommendation back in town before we left: “When you wake up on the last day, it will be cold, the wind will be howling, it will be raining, and the last thing you’ll want to do is carry a pack up the steep one hour hike to the top. Do it anyway! Everyone else will climb up without theirs, soaked from sweat in their clothes, get to the top, instantly be frozen by the wind, snap a few pictures and head back down before 10 minutes are up. Don’t be everyone.” He couldn’t have been more right. We lug our backpacks with dry clothes, sleeping pads and bags, along with breakfast and our camp stove.
One of the first ones to the top, Adam finds us the perfect spot tucked between two big rocks to keep us out of the wind, front and center for a view of the Torres, Keep reading!