Sunday, May 18, 2008

May 16th and 17th : Awaroa to Wellington

On the morning of the 16th we said goodbye to Awaroa Lodge and Abel Tasman National Park. We waited for the water taxi on the beach:

We had a good ride back to Kaiteriteri. Our water taxi captain stopped several places for us to get out and walk around. We also got a chance to go aboard a large boat that doubles as a backpackers on the water. It's kind-of a party boat with the lower level filled with bunk beds. There wasn't anyone on it at the time, but our captain knew the owner, so we went aboard and took a look around.

We also were visited by 'George', a resident dolphin of the waters around the park that has left his pod and befriended our captain. He likes to ride in the wake of the boat and followed us for about five minutes, jumping out of the wake. It was a little tricky getting this picture because he seemed to also like to alternate sides, so you would be waiting for him on one side and he'd pick the other:

Once back in Kaiteriteri, we took a drive out to the small town of Takaka in Golden Bay. It has a reputation for having a lot of arts and people interested in 'the alternative lifestyle'. It was a nice little town - lots of galleries and some funky jewelry stores.

After that we headed back to Nelson for the night, and packed up in preparation for the early morning ferry ride to the North Island the next morning.

On the morning of the 17th we got up early and drove an hour and a half through some pretty dense fog from Nelson to Picton. This would have been a very scenic drive with the Marlborough Sounds blue-green waters below if the weather had been different. In Picton, we boarded the ferry for our 3-hour ride to the North Island:

I got a pressed penny (here a 10 cent coin is the lowest they make - so it's really a pressed 10-cent) - kind of a silly souvenir, but I have a soft spot for them:

After arriving at the ferry terminal, we had a pretty long walk to our hotel, the Bolton. We learned later that we could have taken a free shuttle to a couple blocks away, but it was too late at that point! The hotel is nice; here's a pic of our room:

One small downside to the hotel is that it is in middle of the business district and a little distance from the shops and restaurants. Since we spent the weekend in Wellington, we had to do a little walking to find open venues.

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