Nelson is a town with an oceanfront and homes built within the mountainous landscaping. The city center resembles a small town with lots of shops and restaurants. There are beaches, piers and boats along the ocean shore and the tide goes way down during the evening. After walking around the main center of town we stopped but the beach to see what it was like. People were swimming and Doug said the water was warmer than Australia (dipping his feet in only). This was hard to believe considering the weather here is much cooler than Australia.
We drove out to Cable Bay which a a large bay between two huge steep mountains covered with green hills, sheep and a few cows. The shoreline is all smooth rocks (known as a shingle beach) that are comfortable to sit on without a chair. The water is blue and clear. Some people were snorkeling and fishing, while others (like us) were sitting on the beach staring at the beauty around us. I fed the birds and looked for heart shaped rocks most of the time.
Most of the time we spent in Nelson was chilling out. The next stop is Motueka to see the Abel Tasman coastline and spend time hiking and chilling on the beach. Unlike the other places, this is only a thirty minute drive from Nelson. Since getting sick twice on fish and chips I can’t even look at a piece of fried fish without getting nauseous. The horrible thing about that is Nelson has some of the highest rated fish and chips shops of all towns we’ve visited. Damn.
Port Motueka is a small town on the shore of the Tasman Bay. The city center looks like a throwback from 1978. Small stores, a few restaurants and pharmacies make up the strip in the center of town. We decided to stay in a backpacker lodge called Hat Trick Backpackers. In New Zealand the backpacker accommodations are nicer than some hotels in America. I’ve become a fan of them since staying at one in Queenstown. They are clean, comfortable and fifty percent less expensive than a hotel or airbnb.
Saving $100.00 on accommodations over two nights really helps and also gives us more money for lamb dinners when most other travelers are eating vegetables and cup of noodles. We stayed at the Hat Trick Backpackers Lodge. This is another spotless clean hostel that was 1/4 of the price of a hotel room. Having a private room is the most important thing about staying in these. Outside of private rooms, the accommodations are bunkbeds in one room. The private room we stayed in was very small but clean and had it’s own bathroom and shower attached.
We met a traveler named Natalie from Washington DC. She was traveling alone for six months seeing as much of the world as she could. It’s always inspiring to see a single girl just going out there and doing it. I don’t think I would have had the guts or idea to do this on my own. Especially financially at such a young age. But I commend all girls who travel alone. After talking to her for a couple of hours we wished her well and went our separate ways. That’s always the sad part about meeting travelers, you get to really like talking to them and then poof! gone. Thank God for Intstagram. I’m starting to now ask the people I talk to if they are on social media. It’s always fun to follow people you actually know.
Most of the international travelers staying in Motueka (including us) are here to visit the Abel Tasman National Park. This happens to be the smallest national park in New Zealand and it’s known for it’s coastal track. It takes 4-5 days to hike the entire track or water taxis are available to take people to different areas along the coast. Depending on how far up the coast you visit the prices vary for the taxi. We chose to go to the Anchorage Beach which is known for it’s stunning beach. The price of the water taxi round trip is $60.00 (for two people). This is the best option or it’s a 3 hour hike each way.
Abel Tasman Memorial- where Abel and his two ships ported after discovering New Zealand in 1643. Overlooking farmland and green mountains this was impressive to see. Unfortunately Abel lost four of his shipmates to death after their ship was “rammed” and he left calling this bay Murderous Bay. That name never stuck though.
Takaka is a very hippie town before we got to Tata Beach. Most of the adults are dressed in proper hippie attire including hemp pants or pullovers. Shoes and socks seemed to be optional for some locals. I don’t understand how they aren’t cutting their feet up without shoes on, but it’s pretty common to see people walking barefoot in stores and on trails. We had lunch here and drove thirty more minutes to our final destination – Golden Bay.