As we sit here watching the sun rise over Golden Bay, listening to Dylan and having a grand organic food breakfast, we realize that somewhere in the world, it is the 4th of July... so "wave that flag, wave it wide and high."
We left Nelson some time in the recent past for a little weekend road trip. It is our 20th anniversary, don't you know? We had reserved a few nights in a health resort in Abel Tasman Park. It has now been 5 days and we are still out here on the road with rather big smiles on each other's faces.
New Zealand has been like the 4th of July every day.
Back on Friday, we drove up to Marahau, which we thought was far away. Turns out, it is 1.5 hours through green hills, rainforests, farms, beaches, and wool and dairy making animals of every sort. Our reservation wasn't until the next day, but we figured we would go up and grab an extra day in some campground and rough it.
There are pristine campgrounds all over NZ and they offer housing from tent sites to cabins. These bedding-less cabins have an ensuite, which means a bathroom/shower. They also have community kitchens, which are always interesting. We decided to worry about housing later in the day.
Marahau is the entrance to Abel Tasman National Park, the smallest but most awe inspiring spot in the country. There are no big signs, a dirt parking lot, no enery fees, no park rangers. People hike anywhere from 1 hour to 4 days. There are good, marked trails and bathrooms, and huts all through the park.
Since it was still early, we took a short hike into the estuary.
Soon thinking that we better secure lodging, we left. Across from the carpark was an unusual sculpture gallery, being run by a kid, Mattie, who said we live in Paradise.
They were up the hill and were individual full service cottages. Great views of mountains and bay, kitchenettes, deck, privacy, stereo, TV, bath. It is owned and operated by Robert, from Europe. He managed the Kimi Ora Health Resort for 15 years and decided to build his dream and put up 10 Bavarian style ski chalets in Abel Tasman.
Of course we threw down or EFTPOS cards, (Electronic Funds Transfer at Point Of Service), which is the ATM here. Then we drove over to the small nearby market to stock up on food.
The choices were slim, but Kimberly figured it out without the use of my choice of Mac n' Cheese, which was removed from the shopping cart when I was not looking. It was replaced by 3 bottles of NZ wine.
Dinner, music, all the stars in heaven, comfy warm bed. Hot shower, tasty breakfast. Blah, blah, blah
"Summertime done come and gone, my oh my."
ANNIVERSARY TRIP - DAY 2
Walk me out in the Morning Dew.
Crisp frost coated the fields of grass waiting for the sunrise. 3 blanketed horses snuffed around for something soft to chew. The air was clean and odorless. The only sound came from morning birds who sang a rare and different tune.
So I lit a fire. Isn't it good Norwegian Wood?
Today we were going for a 5 hour hike in the park to a secluded beach. The weather man promised a glorious day. There were 3 other cars in the carpark when we got there.
Possibly one of the best tracks in the world and it is not strenuous. You need good footwear, several layers of clothing and a backpack for water and snacks..and a camera.
We took side trails, picnic breaks, beach stops. Never saw anyone.
Do you know how great the world is without people all over the place?
We did talk to a local man who said it gets real crowded in the summer. I asked him how many people is too much.
He said, "2".
Sadly, we had to leave after 5 hours of tramping around. We had reservations at Kimi Ora for the next two nights.
It only took us 30 minutes to get there and this place was also built about by a German guy 20 years ago. His dream was to put up a European style wellness resort. It has hiking trails, spa, pools, exercise, organic veggie food. This place is apparently the Canyon Ranch of New Zealand, but it is not Flash, very subtle and local. Only 10 units. Things are different here.
They were only able to provide breakfast during winter, so we were on our own for dinner. Barbara, our hostess, recommended The Gothic, which is a 100 old church refurbished and masquerading as an elegant restaurant.
These places are all one of a kind, "mom and pop" operations. Lots of people seem to be acting out their dream around here by creating their own business and working hard. We are always greeted by the owner who is happy to chat about the history of the area and whatever else anyone wants to know.
Exceptional meal, but we added vanilla ice cream with caramel sauce, 2 coffees which was a bit of overkill. Some of us in the group needed to undo a top button on our pants.
When we returned, to Kimi Ora, we noticed some instructions concerning the Glow Worm Trail. Apparently, there are these little beasts around the property and one can observe them in the dark. We needed to don our head lights.
See ridiculous photo.
Then we wait until darkness and use the light to illuminate the trail. The light is white and makes everyone expect a visit from Blair Witch. Kinda scary, if truth be told.
Then there is a sign on the trail that tells you to grab the rope on the right and use it as a guide while all lights now get turned out. Extremely freaky now because stumbling along for about 100 feet, we see all these tiny twinkling torches. "Little New York". Here is some information on Glow Worms.
We ended up right by our room and jumped into the jacuzzi spa on the deck, watched "Whalerider" before passing out.