Two centuries before New Zealand was established as a British colony, a Dutch seafarer by the name of Abel Tasman made the first contact between the outside world and the Maori when he stumbled upon the north coast of New Zealand's South Island. When the Maori came out in their canoes and made their traditional "friend or foe" challenges, the Dutch responded by noisily blowing trumpets at them. The Maori were clearly not keen fans of this sort of free-form jazz, as when the Dutch lowered a boat to go and meet with them it was attacked, and four crewman killed. Abel decided that he didn't need to actually set foot on land to have discovered it, and fucked off with some haste, settling on the name Nieuw Zeeland.
Last weekend we went to have a vague poke at the national park named after Abel Tasman. It is called Abel Tasman National Park.
We started by driving up to Nelson on Thursday night, then went up the road to Marahau the next morning. At Marahau we hired a sea kayak; or, as my boss referred to it, divorce boat. Which suggests that he too may have experienced kayak rage at some point... the problem with two-man kayaks is that the person on the back controls the rudder and therefore determines the direction of travel, regardless of how much the person on the front tries paddling to one side. Meanwhile the person on the back has to try to keep paddling in time with the person on the front, which is really difficult if the person on the front has no sense of rhythm, or occasionally stops paddling for no reason at all and starts whistling. Whistling?! Why the fuck are you whistling?! Paddle, damn you! PADDLE!!!
We managed to get to get to Watering Cove without killing each other, took a short walk over to Anchorage Bay or Cove or Something, and found our accommodation for the night - the Aquapackers floating dormitory thing. We gained entry by standing on the shore and waving until someone noticed us and came over in a wee boat to get us.
In spite of being trapped on what would be most diplomatically described as a "cosy" boat with a load of other people and a desperately short supply of booze, it was actually quite bearable.
The next day we walked through the forests back to Marahau, with a slight detour to check out Cleopatra's Pool (a rock in a pond). I went for a bit of a paddle; the water was so cold it made my feet hurt.
Then we drove to Kaiteriteri, and had a look at split apple rock (a rock which looks a bit like a split apple).
There's not much else to do in Kaiteriteri, so we went and had a long look at the inside of a pub. We stumbled back to our shitbox hostel to discover that we were sharing our room with a girl that snored loudly, and a couple that spent hours - and I mean hours - in the evening noisily moving things from one immense backpack to another immense backpack and then back into the first backpack, seemingly in an effort to fit twelve bags worth of crap into one bag. They were still vainly attempting to defy the laws of physics the following morning, so we fucked off for a vague bimbly drive along some of the twisty roads in the hills before finally heading for home through the countless vineyards of the north and then down along the west coast.
Sinister foreign confectionery this week took the form of a Chokito.
The Chokito is kind of like a finger of fudge that has been dipped in chocolate, rolled in biscuity bits, and then dipped in more chocolate. It surpassed all expectations by being not only edible, but also quite delicious. Blimey.