Kia Ora, friends! Hello from Cleveland where we appear to be having what my friend Shawn calls snowy rain. Like Eskimos, we have many different names for snow here in the Great White North. Not sure if that's something to be proud of or embarrassed about. I'll decide later, but for now we've got gorgeous turquoise waters waiting for us, so let's get back on the road again.
From the Pancake Rocks in Punakaiki on the west coast of the South Island, we're going to cut the northwest corner and head across some wilderness to the Nelson area at the top of the island, home of the Abel Tasman National Park. We'll be here for the rest of our time in the South Island.
Way back when we first got to Auckland, I saw a photo in our road atlas from the Abel Tasman park that made me look it up that second so I could plan a trip there ASAP. The color of the water just looked breathtaking. Probably Photoshop, I figured, but what if it wasn't...
When I began to put the pieces together for this South Island trip, I looked near Abel Tasman first for accommodations and found the adorable little Lemonade Cottage in Upper Moutere. The only availability was on and around Christmas so I booked that first and planned the rest of the trip around it. I took every day we could have there, so we were there for 5 nights, but I could've stayed 50.
Since this was where we hung our Christmas hats, it was lovely to again be at the home of a real family, and especially their dogs! The kids jumped for hours on the trampoline and we all took Harry, Flash, and sweet old Bella for walks down the dirt road and threw their nasty slimy pinecones for them. And apologized to our kind hosts after all three rolled in muddy ditches.
We'd missed our own dogs soooo much while we were gone and those three were the perfect antidote to Faraway Doggy-itis! Another treat was the daily basket of the most delicious homemade breads, eggs from the farm, ham, fresh fruits, milk, juice, and yogurts. Delightful!! It was fun each day to think of something new to make for breakfast with whatever we'd been given.
The eggs came in a chicken-shaped bowl called a bench hen, by the way. The kitchen counter is called the kitchen bench and so of course that chicken bowl would be called ... the bench hen, you got it! They don't refrigerate eggs in New Zealand. They're on the grocery store shelves stacked up just like the cereal or the paper towels. In fact, they kept fresh eggs next to the mailbox at Lemonade Farm for people to buy.
Two shots down from here, that cow giving me the stinky eye is named Panda. She would stop whatever terribly busy cow thing she was doing whenever Dennis was outside and stare at him. He could be a half mile down the road in either direction and she'd be staring at him. It was creepy and quite humorous.
The Nelson region claims to have the most sunny days per year in the whole country, and at this point we had paid our rain dues for sure. Finally, we'd found the most pleasant weather we'd yet to experience in New Zealand and we knew all too well that once this trip was over we had a few short weeks to pack up the house in Auckland and prepare for the move home. We wanted to vacation and relax like we really meant it and this was the perfect spot for that. Waaaay out in the country, long sunny days, good food...and Abel Tasman park just a short drive away! Yee ha!!! You know what I'm gonna show you all next! Get your sunglasses and SPF 50! Back soon :o)xo, K.