We’ve been having the best time! The South Island of New Zealand is full of amazing adventures. We’ve been spending our time at the very top end of the island, and still haven’t run out of things to do. We’ve hiked the Queen Charlotte Track, eaten green shelled mussels, seen glow worms in Alex and Colin’s basement (!), hiked and boated in Abel Tasman National Park, beachcombed on Whaririki Beach near Cape Farewell (the most northerly part of the South Island), and kayaked on Marlborough Sound.
New Zealand is a very outdoor-focussed place. It is where bungee jumping was invented (in Queenstown) AND the Zorb (you’ll have to Google that one), and continues to be a Destination for active people. And for good reason: there is nothing in New Zealand that will eat you. When we hike there, there is no need to keep our eyes peeled for bears or cougars (like in the Rockies in Canada) or snakes and spiders (like in Australia). You can be free to enjoy the scenery, and the worst thing that will happen to you might be a sprained ankle from not looking where you’re going!
There are also things for non-active people to do. There are lots of amazing artists working in the Golden Bay/Marlborough Sound area. Nelson is a great place to shop for wood art, glass art, pottery and paintings. There are also some fabric artists there.
Just south of town is the WOW Museum: World of Wearable Art and Classic Cars. Once a year there is a WOW Awards Show where international designers participate in a huge theatrical presentation of their fanciful and dramatic costume designs. Past winners have been made of PVC pipe, leather, metal, and fabric, with competitions for best fanciful, black light, children’s and wacky bras creations. Imagine a bra with two cranes on the shoulders, winching up its heavy load(s). I wish I could show you a picture, but there is no photography allowed in the museum, and I couldn’t find a postcard. You’ll just have to visit the museum yourself!
What I can show you about the museum was just outside the exhibit entrance. You know that Lord of the Rings was filmed here in NZ, and there are lots of tourists here as a result. At WOW, I saw The One Ring, which was made by a NZ jeweller. Here it is:
The Abel Tasman National Park is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. Lots of boating, hiking and water activities, including kayaking (surely the best way to see the park), swimming and boating. There are seals and interesting rock formations. The signature rock for the park is called the Split Apple rock. We had an Aqua Taxi (boat) driver with a great sense of humour, as most of them seem to have. He described this rock formation as made of papier mache, “to replace the original one which was was destroyed”. Yeah, right.
We had another Aqua Taxi driver who called the cormorants who live there “evil imports from Australia, otherwise known as ‘Velcro tree penguins'”. I think it’s a test to see if anyone is listening, or if anyone actually speaks English! People do love to see penguins – if only they really were penguins!