Heading South

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Our next stop was Wellington, the capital of this fabulous country. As we had taken up most of the morning white water rafting the coach journey to leave River valley didn’t commence until after lunch. This then meant a late arrival in to Wellington. So on that Sunday evening we experienced as much as we could of Wellington on our very short stopover. The hostel bar had free dinner so we started the evening with the smallest portion of lasagne you’ve ever seen. We then strolled around the town looking in all of the shop windows as everything was closed. We had a wander to the harbour and found the Mac’s brewery pub which was very large however empty to customers and quite pricey but the flavoursome beers made up for it. We had a few more drinks in another bar that was showing some Premier League games and then headed back to the hostel for a few short hours sleep as our ferry was at 6am the next day. The normal ferry used by Kiwi Express was overbooked so a handful of us took an alternative ferry that travelled slightly earlier than everyone else. We managed to catch up on some sleep on the ferry and also enjoyed a hot breakfast, we then had a short wait on the South island for the second ferry with the driver and the rest of the Kiwi crowd to arrive. We didn’t know until we sat on the coach but most of our fellow travellers who had left us in Taupo had stayed longer in Wellington and therefore all arrived on that second ferry, it was a day of reuniting. The number of Kiwi travellers going south that day was so large, there were two coaches in tow. We caught up with people on our coach, then once arrived at our stop for the night in Kaiteriteri, caught up with people on the second coach, and fellow travellers who had already been at Kaiteriteri. We were then given the low down on the location.

when our bus arrived on the Monday we were greeted with joy

Kaiterteri is beach town on the edge of the Abel Tasman national park. Following the Kiwi recommendations we had only scheduled a one night stop here so were restricted on the activities we could participate in based on our arrival and departure schedule. Although a one night stop was the best option from the stories we heard of those we met up with on our arrival. The hostel is next to a pub but has limited opening hours and on the day before, it being a Sunday, everything within walking distance was closed. Even the hostel closed it’s reception and kitchen apparently. So when our bus arrived on the Monday we were greeted with joy for those bored travellers who were welcome of other people to hang out with and for the sight of the Kiwi coach that would take them on to their next destination. You see the coach doesn’t arrive or depart from every stop on the tour every day of the week, so you really had to plan the extra stop overs around the coach timetable. That night we had so many people to catch up with and ended having such a good evening, we forgot to have dinner. We started the evening in the pub garden soaking up the last hour of sunshine and catching up with friends over a beer or two. We then moved inside the pub where more people gathered and then after a few more beers, a pub quiz commenced.

Everyone who knows Andi and I would assume that we jumped at the chance to partake, and we did. We don’t even bother checking what the prizes are anymore, or even if there are prizes. Joining the team of Alfie & Steph from Leeds, Imogen (Immy) from Buckingham, and Austrian Stef, we commenced the quiz against what seemed to be teams of lots of locals. A farely older crowd and ran by an old guy too, we assumed the questions would mostly be NZ related, from what I can remember we were stumped with a few cricket questions, but we seemed to be doing okay. The most memorable round was the picture round and it was dogs! Rianna Hughes would’ve single handedly won the quiz based on this round alone, however with a team full of non dog obsessed people, I think we got most of them wrong. We did however, come third in the overall quiz! And the prize was booze! Which we polished off before the pub threw us out at closing time. A fun evening had by all.

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We rose early the next day to pack up before we headed off for a morning of sea kayaking. Once we returned from this activity the coach would depart for the next stop straight away so we had to pack and check out before going kayaking. We could leave our luggage at the hostel but had to take more stuff in our day bags with us on the kayaks, this didn’t end up too bad as the kayaks had genius waterproof cubby holes in the front of each seat to store your stuff. No wetsuits today, our only protection from the water would be sexy seat covers that you wear as a skirt and seals around the hole your sat in. We also had to wear life jackets. The tide was quite tame so I didn’t feel there would be any likelihood of us capsizing, however I did get rather wet from Andi’s windmill rowing. You see I decided to sit at the back and steer the pedals. It was a very pleasant morning, although we did get stuck on a rock at one point where we paddled over shallow water and I got slightly worried when the guides were discussing what colours the bouys meant as we crossed boat lanes heading towards the shore. Then we were instructed to arrange ourselves for a photo by standing up! But we all managed to keep everyone afloat. I was sad to leave this beach side town and envious of those who stayed another night and got to enjoy the Abel Tasman national park.

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