Day Four: Drive, Walk, Drive some more!

Before I begin writing about today I have to get something out in the open. I’ve not been telling you the whole truth when I’ve said that I love everything about New Zealand. There is something that really bugs me, and my first encounter with them on this trip did not end well. It could have been WAY worse, but it still got to me and I’m going to vent for just a minute. So, you ask, what’s my problem? SAND FLIES!! When I did the walk up to Hokitika Gorge there were sand flies there. These things are TINY, like fruit flies, but let me tell you these little ladies (and it’s the females that are the problem) pack one heck of a bite! I only got a couple of bites this time, on my hands, but because I haven’t been exposed to them in a long time the bites are particularly itchy and painful. And they’ll last for a week or two if my experience this trip is like it was on my two earlier trips. I’m generally Miss Eco/Earth Girl- non-toxic everything, save the critters, etc. But let me tell you: BRING ON THE DEET-LADEN INSECT SPRAY!! Tomorrow I’ll be hitting a store for a bottle of the stuff. No more feeding the local wildlife with imported Californian blood. At least not mine!

[I now return you to your regularly scheduled blog post.]

This morning I said goodbye to Shining Star in Hokitika, and had one last flat white with my protein-packed scrambled egg breakfast at my favorite cafe before heading north up the coast again. The end point of the day was Motueka, near the entrance to Abel Tasman National Park. On the way up we took a 30 minute driving detour to get to a waterfall walk that looked really good. It broke the very long drive up nicely, and I really appreciate that I didn’t have to sit/drive for 5 hours straight. The walk we did was an easy one, just a couple of hours total. It’s called Charming Creek Walkway and the Department of Conservation explains it well in the link (we only did part of the entire 6 hour walk). The part we did follows along the tracks of an old and very tiny coal mining railway. It drizzled just a little bit, but for the most part it was high clouds and some sunshine. We only met two other people on the entire walk! We got off to a very slow start because the town coal processing plant was loading up the train that just happened to be blocking the road we needed to cross to get to the start of the track. Once it finally moved…oh so slowly… it was smooth sailing. The photos pretty much explain themselves, so here they are:

Train delay!!

Train delay!!

Charming Creek Walkway sign

old coal cars

fern babies!

fern babies!

Privately Owned Railway sign

another old iron bit

bins loading hub sign

furnace

First of two we walked through

First of two we walked through

light at the end of...

light at the end of…

Another NZ swing bridge!

Another NZ swing bridge!

Looking up Charming Creek

Looking up Charming Creek

This was the reward for walking and crossing a bouncy swing bridge- Mangatini Falls!! If I ever figure out how to put a video in I’ll add it later. Just a photo for now…

Mangatini Falls

Mangatini Falls

Once we made it back to the car it was drive, buy a coffee in Westport,  drive, and then drive some more– until the 7:30 p.m. arrival in Motueka. We have already figured out “our” place for meals, Hot Mama’s, which is just a short walk away from the motel. The waitress was friendly, the food was very good, and the other server (owner?) was a cheeky fellow who tried to charge me $32 when I asked for the password for the free wi-fi to check email on my phone. They had a great looking selection of goods in the bakery case, they serve breakfast AND COFFEE starting at 7 a.m. and, and that’ll do just perfectly to get us on the road by 8:30 so we can get to Collingwood for our Abel Tasman tour tomorrow morning.
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One Response to Day Four: Drive, Walk, Drive some more!

  1. jerry thompson says:

    I love the photos… oh my goodness, it must be so magical there….

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