We visited New Zealand to celebrate my Dad’s 60th birthday. We had been once before as a family, just over ten years ago, and it is my Dad’s favourite place in the entire world (bar Cornwall where we are from). The trip we did back then was totally amazing, but in retrospect we perhaps tried to squeeze a little too much in. We covered both the North and the South Islands in two weeks, often only staying in each place for one or two nights. So this time, we decided to just do it at a more leisurely place, and we just explored the South Island.
I’ll always remember it as the trip of laughing. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much in my entire life. I shared a room with my sister for the most of it and she had taken to speaking in a Welsh accent pretending she was Nessa from the TV show Gavin and Stacey. It just really tickled me. There were nights when I couldn’t breathe or get to sleep for ages because we’d been laughing so much. You have to have been there.
Our first stop in New Zealand was Marlborough Sounds. I met my family at Picton airport and we got a short water taxi from Picton (it took just over half an hour) to the Bay of Many Coves resort. Wow, what a way to start the trip! The Bay of Many Coves resort was just stunning. We spent most of our days floating in the turquoise waters, reading on the jetty, paddle boarding, kayaking and doing short walks in the area (parts of the famous Queen Charlotte Track are close to the resort). And if that wasn’t enough to help you feel rejeuvinated, the smoothies there were just the best. All made with fresh ingredients. We had at least two each a day. Also to note food-wise were the desserts. You actually don’t have to stay at the resort to make the most of the restaurant. We saw a lot of people doing day trips and having long leisurely lunches before returning to Picton via water taxi.
We were meant to leave Bay of Many Coves after four days, but there was a cyclone. It was the strongest cyclone that New Zealand had experienced for years and apparently one of the top restaurants close by was washed into the sea. As you might imagine, getting back to Picton via water taxi was just not going to happen, so we stayed an extra night and watched the storm from the cosiness of our apartment overlooking the sea. I love a good storm. I find them so exciting. Well, as long as I’m inside, safe, dry, wrapped in a blanket and drinking hot chocolate. Not that I’m fussy or anything. Anyway, after the storm passed, we were able to make our way back to Picton the following day, joined by a pod of dolphins to fare us goodbye.
We then made our way across to the Abel Tasman National Park. We drove through stunning landscape after stunning landscape. I usually like to read whilst travelling, but New Zealand was the only country where I didn’t read whilst travelling once, for fear of missing out on the view from the car window. We parked our car at Kaiteriteri and got another water taxi over to Awaroa Lodge in the Abel Tasman National Park. This one was a bit longer and took around two hours, but it included a tour of the Abel Tasman National Park. We went with a company called Wilsons Abel Tasman and had a funny skipper who roared with laughter at pretty much anything anyone said. It was quite nice actually, because usually I’m the one laughing rather than making people laugh, so it made me feel pretty good about myself.
We stayed at Awaroa Lodge for two nights. On the first day the beaches were covered in debris from the and the sea was still stormy, but by the second day they had already started to clear and the sea was a beautiful milky blue. For the next few days, us girls and some family friends stayed at Kimi Ora Eco Resort in Kaiteriteri whilst my Dad did a guided walk through the Abel Tasman National Park. We mostly lounged around during the day and spent our evenings at Kai Restaurant/Gone Burgers at the beachfront sipping cocktails and wine. On one of the days we did a Kneipp water treatment at Kimi Ora, which turned out to be literally just walking in a really cold stream. We were joking about it for ages, but to be fair, my feet did feel really great afterwards. That showed me.
Bay of Many Coves: Floaty feels