My favorite pocket of the world that I reached this year was this little island called vieques. The organisms in the water glow as you agitate the water- it’s absolutely mind blowing! (I had my shutter open for 6 seconds and swam as far as I could!) #vieques #biobay #mosquitobay #longexposure

Adventuring Oop Noorth (Kaikoura, Nelson, Motueka & Abel Tasman) - Jan 2014

Following Christchurch’s encouraging push I was ready to venture into the wild…and explore the beautiful nature that New Zealand’s South Island has to offer.

- Kaikoura Beach is stunning (full stop) and the Albatross Hostel one of the best hostels I’ve ever stayed in…with it’s traveller owners and an art corner where you can create art that goes on the lounge wall, it really stands out from the rest. Special mention goes to the lovely fire spinning Finnish girl who was working there. I found it very hard to leave this lovely spot.
http://albatross-kaikoura.co.nz/

- Nelson, where it rained pretty much the whole day we were there but where we visited a lovely church on the hill and experienced the 20th January 2014 Wellington Earthquake tremors! The sofa I sat on felt like a rocking boat for two seconds. It really could’ve been a very special moment in my life if the fellow traveller who sat across from me (a cute guy - from Canada?) had thought the same that I did… “And the earth moved when we looked at each other in the eyes.” Next time! ;)

- Motueka sunsets were beautiful, there are some amazingly quirky gardens and houses there and it’s a good place for starting your Abel Tasman adventures. Watched a very quirky and funny English movie whilst staying at the Hat Trick Hostel, conveniently located opposite the Motueka iSite (Aladdin’s cave for traveller information, located in most towns and cities in NZ)…where Naked Bus and most Abel Tasman tours depart from. This hostel is lovely and clean, the owners are sweet, and it’s quiet with a well stocked and spacious kitchen (with lots of young guys cooking impressive looking dishes!). In short; the perfect place for nourishing yourself and getting a restful nights sleep (alas having a French girl in the bottom bunk screaming her head off in the middle of the night because of a nightmare) before adventuring into Abel Tasman National Park. Oh and the piglets you’ll encounter on the coastal walk are very cute!
www.nakedbus.co.nz
www.hattricklodge.co.nz/

- Abel Tasman kayaking was a truly lush thing to do on a perfectly clear, blue sky kinda day, with pygmy penguins greeting us from the waves, seals perching themselves on the rocks, and the Kahu Kayaks mocchachinos & choccy muffins served on the deserted Waiharekeke Bay beach with only seagulls “annoying” us with their territorial yells. The beaches are pristine and in low tide you can walk from one side of the Mosquito Bay cove to the other. After a few hours of paddling, you’ll be picked up from the beach to enjoy a BBQ dinner at Aquapackers, which is permanently anchored on Anchorage Pitt Head, one of the coolest hostels I’ve ever stayed in. Lovely hosts and cool captain made it a very special experience indeed (good luck with the European - Finland including - cycling tour!). I promised not to reveal the surprise, mystery tour the captain will take you on (if the night is clear and dark enough), so you just have to go there to experience it! ;) Flirty French rugby player on board was an obvious bonus… ;)

- The next days 12.4km hike from the Anchorage Pitt Head to Marahau (edge of the Abel Tasman National Park) is filled with amazing viewpoints and beaches where to rest and dip your weary legs in the sea.

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