It seems like I’ve been ping-ponging back and forth between the two islands, but here I am, back in Wellington for my final two days of my New Zealand adventure. I can’t complain, as I really have fallen in love with the city and the country. I’m definitely going to have to come back here to explore Auckland, Queenstown, Milford Sounds, and the rest of the beautiful sights and places. New Zealand really is a traveler’s wonderland.
I did go kayaking in the Abel Tasman, and it was spectacular! I had to wake up early to make the transfer bus from Nelson to the national park, only to be reminded that I packed poorly and that I was sure to freeze to death. Everyone else seemed to have been prepared on the bus as they were wearing touques, windbreakers, and had lots of thermal, waterproof layers on. I had plenty of layers on as well, but two shirts, a button up shirt and a pleather jacket just didn’t compare.
Once we got the the park, we were taken out on a water taxi and brought to Tonga Bay. It was there that we were briefed on how to kayak, and what to do if the kayak tipped. By this time, the sun had appeared, thankfully, and was warming me up a little. Once we were in the kayaks (they were two seaters, and I was paired with the guide; which practically ensured that we weren’t going to tip and meant I only had to paddle half as hard) we headed out to Tonga Island, which was part of the Marine reserve. The island was known for its sea lion population, and they didn’t disappoint! It was really cool seeing them and hearing all of the facts about them.
– Fun fact #1: The males are only with the females for a three month period, and then they find their own island to stay for the remainder of the time.
– Fun Fact #2: The males sometimes fight to the death.
We also saw a shag (a rare bird that lives only in New Zealand), other birds, starfish, and some even saw a penguin, but it swam away before I could spot it.
After the kayak was done, we had a picnic and then I embarked on the 2 hour hike back to Torrent Bay, which was where the water taxi would pick us up. It turns out I didn’t need to dress warmer as the physical activity was enough to keep me warm with the sun’s help. It turned out to be a beautiful day and the weather was perfect.
I stayed the night in Nelson again, and then headed back to Wellington with the ferry in the morning.