A Travellerspoint blog

Wellington to Kaiteriteri

The 12 days I spent in the north of the south island

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View Kendrick in Asia and Australasia - The world is my back garden on kendrick's travel map.

Day 70 (Mon 02/01/2012)

I arrived in Wellington at 07:45, headed straight to the nearest McD’s which wasn’t very far away. Got some food and used the free wifi to book a night at Nomads hostel which was just down the road. I then headed to Nomads, dumped my stuff there, purchased 24 hours wifi access and sat on the computer all day.

There was a few hours sun which finished the minute I stepped outside to get some food from the supermarket; another downpour which lasted the rest of the day. I actually hate New Zealand now and have made up my mind never to come back. The weather this past month has been worse than a bad English summer, the population is so small there is barely anything here, they are about 10 years behind with technology and infrastructure and it’s too multi cultural. I think I’ve made my mind up not to come back and just make the most of the remaining month I have here as best I can. I’ll go out if it’s sunny otherwise I’ll stay on the computer.

I got my free meal which was pretty good then continued working on the computer. I now have a decent plan arranged for the next week.

That night I was down in reception on the computer and the night shift staff pretty much play guitar and sing all night. One of the guys was so good on guitar and had such a good voice, he could do like any song I requested. I ended up staying down there with them for ages.

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Day 71 (Tue 03/01/2012)

Fredrick was now in Wellington so I met up with him, the Swedish girls and a few new friends he had made. We were going to hike up Mt Victoria but took a detour to the beach to meet Laura and 2 of her friends. We then changed our minds and stayed at the beach, making good use of the rare sunshine. The sea here was icy cold, well about 14 degrees but it still took your breath away. As usual I went in.

Cloud soon covered the sky again and the wind took over so we quickly headed back to the hostel. Lawrence and Oliver had got to Wellington a day early so came to stay at the hostel that evening. They turned up in time for the free dinner than we headed out to go bowling. This was closed so we went next door to the cinema and saw a new film called Tower Heist.

I stayed up most of the night on the computer, who needs sleep anyway.

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Day 72 (Wed 04/01/2012)

I was getting the KiwiEx bus to do the Wellington to Kaiteriteri journey. Most people do this part of the journey in 1 night, skipping Picton and Nelson along the way. I took 12 nights and this is what I did.

The bus picks up in Wellington at 07:15 and takes a short drive to the ferry port where we have to unload all our stuff, check it into the ferry, get it off the other side and load it into a south island bus.

The ferry journey is pretty cool, it takes about 3-4 hours but spends the last hour going through the amazing scenery of the Marlborough sounds. The main reason New Zealand is pretty shit in comparison to Australia is that it’s a massive rip off. Tourism is big in both countries but in Aus they have developed something called competition. In NZ, this doesn’t exist through some massive scam. If only one company exists in each area offering a certain service they can charge what they want and if you want to do it you have to pay a stupid price, the ferry was no exception. Aus was so much better value for money. It’s turning into the big NZ rip off. The weather is shit, when the sun comes out, it burns you instantly, the activities are a rip off and once you’ve seen one mountain, one lake and one river you’ve seen what NZ has to offer.

Once I got off the ferry I found the hostel shuttle bus which took me to the hostel where I was staying in Picton. The hostel was pretty cool, friendly, open and had a hot tub which is always good. Once I was organised I headed to the beach, sunbathed and took a quick dip in quite a cold sea.

That evening I went in the hot tub then ate a lot of the hot chocolate pudding the hostel served up free every night at 20:00. It was so awesome. I met my new German roommates and we arranged to go on a hike the following day.

I sat on the computer that evening with a load of other people from the hostel and met a Swiss girl who was also heading to Nelson next.

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Day 73 (Thu 05/01/2012)

After sleeping in and eating a leisurely breakfast we left the hostel at about 11:30 joined by another German girl. The hike took us most of the day and included walking around the sounds and coastal tracks. We spent a lot of time on a beach we walked to.

When we got back to the hostel I pretty much repeated the previous evening’s activities, hot tub, pudding, internet. I love the hostel, would of been cool to stay longer but I had the next hostel booked in Nelson.

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Day 74 (Fri 06/01/2012)

The bus from Picton was leaving at about 12:30 so I hung around the hostel in the morning then got a lift down to the ferry port. Whilst waiting here for the bus I got chatting to another German girl who randomly was going to the same hostel in Nelson as me. She was meeting her friend there and staying for a week (which became a lot longer like everyone else who stays there).

The bus driver dropped us off at the hostel which was cool, then we checked in to the most bizarre placed I’ve stayed so far (apart from Asylum of course). The hostel is priced like a normal hostel but offers a weekly rate of $110 (that’s less than £8 a night). I initially booked for 3 nights but decided to stay another 3 nights and then again on the morning I was supposed to be leaving, stayed for another 2, it really was that good there.

The hostel is situated right in the port, half way between the town and the beach, you pretty much have to cycle everywhere otherwise it takes ages, luckily the hostel had free use of bikes. It’s pretty small, an old pub, has about 12 rooms above the pub and a couple of shacks out the back.

The hostel has a very large social area down stairs in the old bar which has free pool, xbox and 64” tv hooked up to 900 films. There is also free internet and free laundry and the beds are very comfortable. It’s no surprise that most of the people ‘living’ there are long termers, people staying for weeks / months at a time and this makes it socially amazing. Everyone is so friendly, knows everyone else and every Friday and Saturday night there is a big party.

The hostel is run by 1 guy called Marcus and his son, Tayler. He works around the clock doing everything and is like a father figure to all the people staying there. He has a really relaxed attitude and people don’t pay rent for weeks at a time. Once you’re there he finds room for you to stay in and manages to fit everyone in, one night it was so crammed! Marcus lives in a cupboard in one of the dorm rooms (an actual cupboard with a small mattress on the floor), his son lives in another dorm on an actual bed.

The beach is about 3km down the coast and is pretty awesome; it has a huge tidal area, nice sand and a fairly warm sea. I spent the first afternoon at the beach.

That night I was sitting downstairs and Extreme walks in the door. I was amazed she just appeared there. I’d told her where I was staying but had no Idea she would randomly turn up. It was pretty cool, we swapped photos from our previous adventures, I gave her back her had I’d kept from before and we made plans for more 6.extreme adventures in the south island.

  • * Note: From Australia we had a saying that we used all the time, ‘too easy’ and another one which I picked up from the extreme rafting trip, ‘Extreme!’. When we were on one of our road trips we found a mountain bike sign showing different tracks of varying difficulty. We found this amusing because there was no number 1, it started at 2, 2. Easy and the last one was 6. Extreme hence why everything is now 2.easy or 6.extreme.

The first plan I made with Extreme was to meet the following morning at the hostel to run and swim. We’d run to the beach, do some sea swimming then run back.

  • * Note: One of my first communications with Extreme by text message was when I was trying to find out if she was coming on the road trip with us and I sent her a message asking simply, ‘Are you coming on the road trip tomorrow?’. The reply I got was this: ‘’Yes, I will swim or run closed lake we could to meet in library? At what time?”. When I got to Nelson I text her to ask her if she was there and this is the reply I got, “Yes swim and run ? I hav nrj”. After this, all activities always had to include that you will swim and run.

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Day 75 (Sat 07/01/2012)

I woke up not very keen to swim and run but after a barrage of txts from Extreme I got out of bed (07:45) and met her downstairs. Unsurprisingly we had to run at quite a pace to the beach. When we got there she said we were swimming out to a boi so far away I could barely see it, I thought she was joking; she wasn’t. Bare in mind I’m not the best swimmer in the world and hadn’t been out of my depth in the sea yet this trip. I start swimming whilst she fafs around on the beach for ages so I’m already quite far ahead then she starts swimming towards me and eventually catches up and butterflies past me and asks why I’m not doing front crawl, I responded that I have enough trouble staying afloat let alone going forwards as well. She makes it to the boi and I turn around when she gets there and I was so far out from the shore. I slowly made my way back in. We then ran back to the hostel.

Later on I took one of the hostel bikes, cycled through town to the river that has a cycle path all the way down it. I followed the river until I got to a point I couldn’t pass due to a recent landslide that had destroyed a section of the path (Nelson had recently experienced huge floods and a lot of landslide damage).

On the way back down the river I stopped off and went for a swim, it was so cold my skin went red but it was pretty fast flowing so it was cool sitting on the rocks with the powerful water going past trying to push you downstream. I just back on the bike and headed back to the hostel.

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Day 76 (Sun 08/01/2012)

I can’t remember what I did today, possibly nothing but I may have gone to the beach. In the evening I took a bike and cycled into town to visit the Swiss girl I met in Picton at her hostel. We chatted for ages and made plans to go to the beach the following day. At midnight we visited the cathedral that was next door to the hostel. I cycled home through the deserted town centre.

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Day 77 (Mon 09/01/2012)

As I was about to leave to meet the Swiss girl at the beach a guy from the hostel said that he’d just bought a slackline and was heading out to try it out. I convinced him that it would be a good idea to do it at the beach so we could meet the Swiss girl as well. 3 of us headed down in his car.
I knew what slacklining was because Laurence from had got into it after his kite phase. Slacklining is where you have a thick bit of flat rope, fasten it around 2 trees that are less than 20m apart about 1m off the gound. One then attempts to balance / walk along it and as you get better, do some tricks. It was very difficult but I improved pretty quick.

Just as we packed up Laura called to say she had arrived so we headed back to the hostel to meet her and have lunch. Seeing as we hadn’t really been on the beach yet, Laura, the Swiss girl and I all cycled back there to sunbath and swim. It was a very nice day and there was a lot of people at the beach.

On the way back we said goodbye to the Swiss girl who went her separate way, she was leaving in the morning so we probably wouldn’t see her again.

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Day 78 (Tue 10/01/2012)

Today was the day Fredrick was arriving. Laura and I headed to the beach for our standard sunbathing session. Fredrick arrived off the KiwiEx bus later that afternoon and met us at the beach. There was a really low tide that afternoon revealing a huge tidal area where you could walk out to sea knee deep for miles. Myself and Fredrick went so far out, running through the shallow waters.

We all returned to the hostel for dinner but realised it was cheap dominos pizza night so we quickly changed our plans and cycled into town to collect some £2.50 pizza (enough for that night and breakfast the next morning). We played cards for the rest of the night until shut down.

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Day 79 (Wed 11/01/2012)

Fredrick had a problem booking on the bus we were on so had to make a last minute decision and leave early today. At breakfast I met an American girl called Jenna, she was very sporty, in really good shape and an ex-cheerleader so we got on pretty well.

Laura and I went to the beach all afternoon. I finally did some more tumbling on the sand; it’s so hard on the feet so decided from now on I’d only do it in trainers. The beach is awesome, today there were tons of kite surfers out, one day I’d love to try it.

That evening I played cards with Jenna, Laura and James (another English guy I’d met at the hostel). We followed this up watching a film in the TV room into the early hours of the morning.

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Day 80 (Thu 12/01/2012)

The weather had taken a turn for the worse and we were supposed to be leaving for Kaiteriteri. We were having so much fun at the custom house we didn’t want to leave anyway so we decided to hang tight in the hostel, wait for the weather to clear then head to Kaiteriteri where we needed good weather for kayaking.

In the afternoon the weather in Nelson was actually OK so Laura, Jenna and I hiked to ‘the center of NZ’. When I asked whether it was the center of NZ by area or volume I got a puzzled look, and a response of “How could it be the center by volume” which I responded to by saying if one area has higher mountains it might have more volume which would change where the center is. I don’t think they got it but they explained it was the center if you draw a circle around the country it would be the center point of the circle. I said that was a stupid way of doing it. It turned out they were wrong as well and it was even more ridiculous than that; apparently the Nelson district is the central district in NZ and that was the point at the center of the Nelson district and just so happened to be at the peak of the nearest hill to the town. All in all it wasn’t actually the center of NZ but it still had a good view over Nelson and got us out of the hostel for a while.

For the third night in a row we played cards and it had now generated more interest with 7 people joining in. The ended with a game of the nut game with slightly different rules which weren’t as good as the original I was used to. Again we played until shut down which we followed up by another film in the TV room.

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Day 81 (Fri 13/01/2012)

I stayed in all day until the evening when I had to pop out and get some drinks from the supermarket. Today was Friday and it was our last night and party night at the hostel. The whole hostel get together, play games in the social area until chuck out time then walk into town to go to a club. It was a pretty good night, we even stopped to go on some swings on the way home.

I carried Jenna over a mile back to the hostel without putting her down. This is by far the furthest I’ve ever carried anyone, my training is obviously paying off!

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Day 82 (Sat 14/01/2012)

Today we were finally leaving Nelson and getting back on the bus, I spent the morning on the internet, packed up my stuff and had lunch. At 14:00 we got a lift with Marcus to the KiwiEx bus pickup point. The bus was a standard 2 hours late, I already hated the KiwiEx but this just made it worse.

I slept the whole bus journey before arriving in Kaiteriteri at about 18:00 and checked out our camping options. I wanted to camp wild on the beach but after a quick investigation, realised it wasn’t possible and had to go in the campsite which luckily had a couple of spaces left. Kaiteriteri is pretty much just this campsite situated right on the beach and is very family oriented. We got a pitch near the back of this huge site, put the tent up then went for a walk. We walked around the beach and rocky areas that divided the individual coves. On one rock formation we found a seagull nest with 2 eggs in it. I love jumping and climbing over all the rocks; it’s amazing how good you get at it with a bit of practice.

When we got back we had dinner and made friends with our neighbours who invited us to their pitch for drinks which is where we spent the rest of the evening.

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Day 83 (Sun 15/01/2012)

Laura and I woke up in tent, it wasn’t as uncomfortable as I’d imagined it’d be, we decided to stay on the camp site another night but unfortunately there wasn’t any space so we packed up our stuff and left everything with our neighbours so we could spend the day kayaking. The weather was pretty good now so we’d made a good decision to wait a couple of days.

After arranging the kayaking we had to wait an hour before the briefing so we met Fredrick on the beach. He was still in Kaiteriteri after leaving us in Nelson but unfortunately he was leaving today which meant he was going to be 1 day ahead of us for a while. He was with another Swedish guy I’d met back up in Paihia 6 weeks ago.

We went Kayaking for 4 hours around the bays of Kaiteriteri, covering the full area that was allowed. We timed it just right to explore a lagoon that was only accessible at high tide; it was only a few cms deep so it was pretty amazing we could kayak over it. It was actually possible to row pretty fast in the kayak and I loved being able to get to beaches and areas only accessible by boat. Unfortunately you quickly learn that doing any kind of activity with a girl puts a massive downer on the whole thing because they are so scared of everything, so annoying.

When we got back to camp site we were told there was still no space despite loads of pitches being empty. We decided to take matters into our own hands and sub-let a plot from a couple who were packing up and leaving early. After re-setting up the tent, we went back for more beach time to make the most of the good weather.

At the beach I went for a swim in the sea to the diving platform, it was so shallow I could walk the whole way and touch the bottom when I was at the platform, wasn’t too good for diving. As it got colder we headed back to the camp site for dinner. We then went for a hike up in the hills overlooking the campsite; it was surprising how many paths there were going everywhere. We played cards in the tent until it got dark and went to bed.

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Day 84 (Mon 16/01/2012)

Today was the last morning in the north of the south island. We woke up in the tent, packed up our stuff and headed to the beach for the morning. The bus left at 12:30 and we were heading to Westport.

Posted by kendrick 08:01 Archived in New Zealand

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