Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Nelson to Kaiteriteri and Awaroa Lodge

This morning we set out from Nelson on our way to Kaiteriteri (the gateway to Abel Tasman National Park). Before leaving we prepared a quick breakfast of porridge (the Kiwi version of oatmeal) in our hotel room using an electric hot water kettle. This breakfast was special because it was the first morning of the trip that Dana didn't have an egg (see previous posts for descriptions of how much she loves the eggs here).

We got on the road at 7:30, made a wrong turn at Richmond, but got quickly back on track and out of the 'big' city of Nelson and into the countryside. Kaiteriteri is about 1 1/2 hours from Nelson - we arrived around 9 am, thirty minutes early for our half-day kayak to Split Apple Rock.

We were led on our kayak by a really nice guide by the name of Shores. He had recently immigrated to New Zealand from England with his wife so naturally we had tons of questions for him. He seems to be enjoying the simpler life here with their two-year-old daughter. He gave a great commentary on the birds and trees we were passing as we kayaked out to Split Apple.

It took a little more than an hour to reach the rock, and we stopped there for some looking around on a small beach. There were some neat little caves there and Shores had us try some of a plant that the Maori used to use (and may still use) as a painkiller. Dana thought it tasted like rosemary, and I noticed a little numbness in my mouth after chewing on it a while.

After paddling back to the town, we had lunch at the only cafe:

then got on the water taxi for the one hour ride up the coast into Abel Tasman to Awaroa Lodge:

The Lodge is only accessible via water taxi, which dropped us off in a large empty cove, with a lodge employee on a quad bike to greet us and carry our bags to our room. The lodge is tucked back from the beach in a wetlands area with beautiful scenery all around and an impressive organic garden from which they source all the produce for use in their restaurant.

Here are some views from our deck and of our room.

After getting settled we got a chance to feel the eels that live in the wetlands right alongside the lodge (right under our room actually). It was fun but I had a tendency to drop the meat when the eel came up because I didn't want it taking off with the end of my finger.

Tonight after it gets dark we're going to take a short walk to see some glow worms and also the stars on a boardwalk that cuts through the wetlands. The staff has mentioned that since we are so far away from city lights here the stars are amazing. This lodge is a very special place and we are loving our time here so far.

1 comment:

Tasker said...

Thats one big eel!