Heading back on the ferry to the South Island New Zealand, we finally caught a break. The weather was calm and sunny. The water was almost glass smooth. YEAH!
After picking up our rental car from Apex (who gave us a great deal on a one-way rental to Queenstown), we headed west along the coast, going through Nelson and finally stopping just outside Motueka. The ‘Happy Apple hostel’ had a private room waiting for us. Quite a nice place (for a hostel.) It looks like a old single family home that had been expanded extensively on a big plot of land at the edge of town. Not really walking distance to the city center, but people seemed to have no trouble hitchhiking or getting a lift from other travellers.
After a good night’s rest, we decided to try some water sports, since the weather didn’t look good enough for a hike. With kayaking, you’re gonna get wet either way, so why not? After a quite extensive 1st lesson by the rental company, they tested our skills on the water. Much to my surprise, we easily passed! I was freaked out by the prospect of rolling the kayak and ending up trapped upside down in the water. But after repeated drills on how to get out and ‘right’ the boat, etc. I felt comfortable enough to give it a shot. I have much more experience on the water than Alina, so I elected to take the backseat and control the rudder pedals. (Why don’t canoes have those!?! So easy…)
This was my first try at the sport. Much like surfing, you spend the whole time paddling. The sea was quite rough too, so we spent most of our energy just trying to keep the boat pointed the right right direction.
A few kilometers up the coast we stopped to explore some caves right on the beach. No motivation to go in them, but it was quite a scenic place to stop and rest a bit. The sea swells were 1 to 2 meters high. Not enough to cancel the trip, but they could roll you over if you were parallel to the beach when they hit. We were forced to zigzag our way up and down the coast to ensure we were always on a good angle.
Quite happy with the mood at the ‘Happy Apple’, we decide to spend an extra night and chill a bit. No need to push on with the road trip after such a strenuous day on the water.
The next morning we head off for a drive several hours south, to reach Arthur’s Pass. On the way we stop for a short hike by a nice lake. The trail goes through an old forest. It’s simply amazing how GREEN everything is!
Now back in the car and we’re off to Arthur’s Pass!