Sunday, November 23, 2014

Hello from New Zealand (finally)!!

It has been much too long since I have written.* I wish I could say it was due to the lack of anything worth writing about. But that never seems to be the case when we're traveling. There is always something new, different or beautiful to share. And sometimes, more often than I'd like, there is something crappy to laugh about. Rather than focus on the downer side of the equation, below you'll find some tid bits from our recent day trips in and around Nelson.

*Note: it's not exactly true to say I haven't written, because I have been writing. I am working on my first novel for National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo as it known). So far I've written over 30,000 words and hope to make it to 50,000 by the end of the month. But this fictional narrative has gotten in the way of me writing the nonfiction that is our daily lives and, for that, I am sorry.

Nelson is a cute town of about 60,000 people on the north coast of New Zealand's South Island. It is a sunny spot when there are clouds and rain all around and there is plenty to do within an hour's drive or less.

Tahunanui is a lovely beach right in town. It has soft sand that stretches for a long way (longer than I could walk with my limping foot) and the sand wraps around a little point that sticks out into the Tasman Sea. Kiteboarders can be seen playing in this shallow sandy shoal on windy afternoons. And plenty of dogs are keen to play in the small waves. One day we even saw a dozen or so brave souls in wet suits practicing their paddle board rescue skills -- either that, or they were awful surfers.

On a sunny day, the water in Nelson Bay is a lovely sea green, that color of Crayola crayon that never looked like the sea back home. In the distance are the blue mountains of the Able Tasman National Park. And on the water is the occasional bright red barge providing a highlight amongst the cool blue green hues that roll towards the horizon. It is truly breathtaking, even on rainy days of which we've had only a few.

Our first real outing from Nelson took us to the east about a half hour to Cable Bay. Again the water here is spectacular and the adjacent hillsides are green and covered with sheep that look like cream puff dotting the landscape. On the slightly rocky beach are piles of drift wood, including several pieces that function nicely as impromptu benches. Josh and I had a sit, and then I continued sitting as he strolled to the top of a hill and looked over into the bay beyond.

Our second big adventure took us up into Takaka Hill, about an hour's drive to the west. We stopped off for a short, ten-minute (even with my limping pace) walk to the Riwaka River Resurgence. The Riwaka River, like most of the rivers in the area, has significance to the original people of New Zealand, the Maoris. And the Resurgence is held particularly sacred. The pool of clear blue-green water that marks the Resurgence is quite stunning, especially when the clouds let the sun peek out. Josh and I were curious what lay beyond the pool as we speculated it would be a good size cave, but we didn't get to check it out. And no, we didn't swim in the water as it was frigid!

Further up on Takaka Hill we came to Ngarua Cave, a commercially operated cave tour. We've been on several such tours this year in South Africa and Oregon and possibly others I'm forgetting. This one was very cool, albeit half as long as it should have been. The cave is wet so a lot of the formations look like bumpy coral, which I know is special but I honestly find a bit boring. Luckily for me, there were also stalactites, stalagtites, straws, flow stones, and bones from the extinct Moa (an ostrich-like bird with no wings whatsoever). It was very pretty and I wished I had brought my headlamp and also could have ditched our tour guide who rushed us through the cave so he could get back in time for the next tour.

Having had our caving fever reawakened by Ngarau Cave, we took our rental deeper into the Kahurangi National Park along a gravel road. Knowing that our car rental insurance wouldn't cover us on thus road, Josh drove extra carefully. On the way in, we'd spotted several wild rabbits, a couple flocks of sheep and a herd of very hairy cows. After about 10km of slow going on the mostly flat road, we emerged at the trailhead. There I plopped down at a picnic table surrounded by grass to work on novel and Josh set off into the forest in search of Harwoods Hole.

Harwoods Hole reportedly drops some 183 meters from the surface into the first of many rooms that lead deep into the mountain. From the trail, you can barely see into the hole. Still, Josh enjoyed the opportunity to stretch his legs and enjoy the view.

We've have so many adventures in the area, with so many lovely photos to share, that I'm dividing this post into few shorter posts. Enjoy!


No comments:

Post a Comment