We left Punga Cove on the first water taxi out accompanied by the gear of the trampers heading down the Track and made it to Picton. From Picton, we took the very scenic Queen Charlotte Drive to Havelock, the self-proclaimed mussel capitol of New Zealand. In Havelock, Becky was finally able to achieve her first New Zealand Mussel Orgasm at the Mussel Pot. From Havelock, we headed over to Nelson, an artsy beach community of around 40K and did some errands, checked
email, watched part of the Super Bowl (a bit late and edited for NZ TV), and drank coffee before it was time to catch our flight to Abel Tasmin.
In Nelson, we bought a couple of post cards. One card happened to have picture of the landing field for the Awaroa Lodge. Field is the accurate name as it was, in fact, a grass lawn. And the field was not all that level, to boot. It wouldn’t be appropriate for football but it could work as a golf course. In any event, our pilot took our luggage and us in the four-seat plane (if Becky had had another plate of mussels, the luggage would have had to stay behind!) on a short flight-seeing tour before an uneventful landing on the ninth hole, err, landing field at Awaroa.
The lodge itself is spectacular and quiet with only 26 rooms and no access by road (hike, sea kayak, water taxi, or air are the only ways in. It is very eco-friendly and understated. They haul the luggage around on a cart equipped with Kenda Neverrolls and it still manages to make it to the rooms! They grow most of their own produce organically on site and the food is quite good. We may never leave.
Day Two, Awaroa Lodge, Abel Tasmin National Park
Today was filled with sea kayaking and relaxing. First thing in the morning (First Thing in the Morning occurs at 9 here), we headed out for a 4 hr guided sea kayak tour of the waters in the area of the lodge. It was a sunny and relatively calm day so the sea conditions were perfect. It turns out that one of the couples on the trip were from San Carlos. We must be in some tight demographics here! There are
numerous golden sand beaches here most completely devoid of humans. We passed close by numerous clusters of seals, saw some stingrays, and generally explored the coves and coast in the area. You’ll get the idea from the pictures.
It rained a bit in this morning. With the early low tide, this kept us close to the Lodge today with some wandering along the beaches. Tomorrow we head out along the West Coast for a two-day trip to Wanaka and, hopefully, some more mountain biking.
Punga Cove to Abel Tasmin: