Day 7 - Monday 25th February – Paradise beach to Nelson
Breakfast at The Barn. At 8am we headed off long the scenic Queen Charlotte Drive between Picton and Havelock. We drove past beautiful bays along the coast and past Nelson to 'Keiteriteri' ('eat fast') to catch a water taxi in Abel Tasman National Park to the picturesque blue waters and golden sands of the Onetahuti Bay beach. On the boat journey, we took a look at the ‘Tokangawhā’ split-apple rock (so-called because it is a giant spherical rock that has split in half like a giant apple), and the seals on Tonga Island. From there we walked through the thick vegetation characteristic of the tropical Forest, meeting more Wekar birds along the way. These are flightless birds that look like a kiwi but have shorter beaks.
From Onetahuti Bay beach we walked along beautiful tropical beach paths round to Bark Bay (where there is a beach campsite!). We paddled in the sea and then reluctantly climbed back aboard the beach-launching water-taxi is it rose and fell with the tide. It was tricky to board the taxi because it just reversed up onto the beach lifting its engine away from the sand. The driver lowered the gangplank which moved with the waves and he had to jump onto the gangplank and walk along it up onto the boat. The sea crossing was quite rough and the powerful engine pushed the boat into the waves quite hard causing a spray. The people that sat out in the open at the back of the boat got wet. The beaches were beautiful; the stuff of fantasies, with blue lagoons. I wish we could have stayed longer.
We stayed in the very smart Palm Motel in Nelson. Motels in New Zealand cater very well the people on tour with kitchens and bathrooms and everything you need to self-cater. I liked today. Jeff enjoyed the walk too. Today was a highlight of the trip so far. We walked up to Nelson Cathedral and had a quick look around the gardens. Then we had dinner at a 'Burger Culture' restaurant where we were served by young woman from Glasgow. We had a very nice quinoa salad and the level of service was very good. The staff are so much more friendly in NZ.