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 products...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

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


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


And thus

And thus

South end of Adele Island

Looking back at Fisherman's Island