Nelson is a great town in the top of the South Island. A 15 minute path takes you to the ‘Centre of New Zealand’, sadly not geographically the centre of New Zealand in any way. But it led to a great walk, on which I forgot to take my camera. We went back up that evening for a curious lantern festival, with weird and wonderful artists lining the track up to the top and performing songs, dances and artistry as the light dropped.
My first national park visit was to Abel Tasman – location of one of NZ’s Great Walks, which runs along the east coast of the top of the South Island and is filled with kayakers and walkers. I walked a short section of this track, dropped off and collected by water taxi, on a blisteringly hot day. We took a diversion from the track to go swimming in Cleopatra’s Lake. Our walk ended at one of the park’s gorgeous bays, but I was only concentrating on my sandwich (note the washable sandwich bag. Thanks Maria!)
Centre of NZ walk and beyond: 8km
Abel Tasman walk: 13km