Friday, February 28, 2014

The Grove

So after being wowed in Nelson and Richmond, we resumed our itinerary, driving back northwards, through Motueke and Riwaka, across huge Takaka Hill, down into Takaka Valley, to see The Grove, a DOC scenic reserve of old growth splattered across much older limestone, now uplifted from the sea. It was a bit like Angor Wat, with the weirdly-eroded limestone replacing the temples.


















































































Golden Bay, just a mile or so away







































































































Today's wedding photos, seriously; everyone got enough
DEET?



































Kiwi RVs At The Gypsy Fair

New Zealanders pride themselves on their inventiveness and resourcefulness. It is the land of making-do. Hillary was on the Everest expedition in part because of this reputation. We had seen a few of the many DIY RVs in our travels, but here, at the Richmond Gypsy Fair, quite a number were on display, and we had to stop. All these "gypsies" were fair-skinned northern European types, so we surmise the appellation has more to do with life-style than ethnicity. Quite a lot in New Zealand has to do with life-style.


































































































My personal favorite






















































































Gypsy craftsman; foot-powered saw















PS--not two hours later we are driving out in the Takaka
Valley and see yet another one...built on a fire engine...and
for sale, asking $50,000

Biggest Stump Ever, So Far

Normally, stumps don't get much attention, but this one, a Tasmanian Gum Tree that was cut down finally at about 150 years' age, is a real head-turner. Historic, too.
The signs in the foreground right are about 6 feet tall















Planted in the 1840s, grew to immense size, then had to be
taken down, for public safety, after weakening from storms
and disease

















So if you want a really fast-growing behemoth,
get yourself a Tasmanian Gum Tree

Saturday In Nelson

Our itinerary, such as it ever is, called for driving north from Marahau to Cape Farewell and looking at Farewell Spit, northernmost bit of the South Island, and also at some of the sea stacks and arches up there on Cook Strait. But I had read that Nelson's Saturday market was quite good ("World Famous in New Zealand"), and we know from experience that street markets in this part of the world are well worth visiting. Actually, Nelson has three markets of note: a Wednesday "fresh" farmers' market, the Saturday produce and crafts market, and the Sunday flea market. Anyhow, we had visited Nelson very briefly in 2009--we were in a hurry to get to Abel Tasman and our hut reservations on the tramp--and had been impressed. It has, so it is said, the finest weather on the South Island.
One aisle in Nelson Saturday market















Herb fanciers' heaven















Nice bowls, native wood




















Interesting sculpture















Cutlery made from old tools















Love the before/after















About 10% of the Nelson and environs
population are now German, we've read; we
met one such family who had rented a house
in Motueke for 3 months so their children
could learn English...South Island English!























Local musician; unpictured is the Schnapp Dragon Distillery,
which was offering tastings of its several offerings...most
notably its whiskey, rum, and gin, all excellent, in my
judgment; the rum had won 3rd place in a Barbados rum
competition; lots of home distilling in NZ, rather less craft
distilling




















One of three aisles of cricket equipment in a Nelson sports
store; rugby of course is the national sport, and it requires
no equipment, so it is said, except balls...
















Art Deco in Nelson too















Thus















And thus
















Photo in the local museum, New Zealand's original rugby
team; I doubt you'd get any rugby team in such a dreamy
pose nowadays

















Car camping in the 1940s















Street in downtown Nelson; nice place

Kayaking On The Abel Tasman

For our fifth day we decided to rent a two-person kayak and spend the day mostly on the water. The waters around the Abel Tasman National Park are typically quite calm, and, after the mandatory hour's safety lesson, we were underway.
Our intrepid couples' kayak safety class makes its way across
the tidal flats to its rendezvous with the kayaks
















Arrival of the kayaks















Lots of people do the AT this way; many, only this way















Pretty calm sea; calmer than many a lake I have seen; the
rowing was pretty effortless, we were in no hurry, and the
only serious challenge is not getting run over by water taxis
and cruise boats; and not getting so close to shore that the
sand flies will get you



















So basically we spent the entire day rowing up the coast from
Marahau to near Anchorage, stopping for lunch at Akerston
Bay, then across the channel to these two islands, Adele and
Fisherman's, then back across the channel to Marahau


















Avast! 1st Mate and CFO Vicki guides us toward a rocky
stretch
















Lunch at Akerston Bay's tiny 3-tent campground















Weirdly eroded rocks and sea caves















Across the channel, off Adele Island, looking at fur seal pups















Ditto; click to enlarge; they're the small black fuzzy things















Thus















And thus















And thus















South end of Adele Island















Looking back at Fisherman's Island