For three weeks, we traveled the country of New Zealand (#WatsonsdriveNZ) and blogging our way through it. Follow along + catch up by reading Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six, Part Seven, Part Eight, Part Nine and Part Ten.
It’s neat to meet other travellers along the journey and Bed and Breakfasts are usually the best for that. In Picton, we met two friends and a couple at our table, the friends were from Switzerland, traveling New Zealand for a month! The other couple was only from a few hours away but had stayed at the bed and breakfast four times they loved the area so much. ;) We exchanged stories with the Swiss girls and really enjoyed talking to the Bed and Breakfast owner. She was really funny.
After Picton, we were on the road to Abel Tasman National Park. It was a pretty, three-hour drive and we were excited to be out of the city (Wellington, the day before Picton) and on the road again. We pulled into town at 12:30pm and checked into our Aquataxi ride. We had to be back at 1:20pm so we thought, no problem, grab a quick lunch. We found a cafe and ordered and as time ticked on… it was 1:05pm with no burgers yet. We asked the kitchen to pack it up “takeaway” and when he came, speed walked to the car and zipped down to the Aquataxi building.
It’s such a shame when there’s no time to fully enjoy food… because this burger exceeded our expectations by a mile. First of all, it was huge. Massive beef patty, beets, a fried egg, tomato, lettuce, avocado, onion. A big bun – although I had smaller pieces of gluten free bread on mine. I took off everything but the beef (too big!!) and it still filled me to the brim. So here we are in the parking lot, using kleenex for napkins and eating our mondo burgers in five minutes flat. ;)
The Aquataxi was a sweet system! You start at their building a block off the water, then a tractor pulls the boat down into the water. The tractor driver then hops out of the tractor and into the boat to drive it. (There’s no docks or places to store your boat on Abel Tasman so hence the tractors.)
When the tide comes in, you can kayak through that hole in the rock!
With the Aquataxi, you can purchase a two hour scenic tour, or you can purchase one-ways, to get dropped off at a spot ant hike! The majority of our boat was hikers, so after a drop-off, there was only Randy and I, the driver and two girls from France. The driver asked if we wanted to pull off to a quiet beach and hang out for ten minutes before we needed to pick more people up. YES! It was pretty sweet to be the only ones around. Once we got back in the boat the driver pointed out a stingray in the water! (Glad he waited until after we were done.)
After two hours zipping around Abel Tasman National Park in the boat, we drove a couple hours down to St. Arnaud, a very tiny town nestled between mountains. We stayed at the Alpine Lodge and before sunset, went down to the lake to take a few photos! We had dinner at the lodge but the best part of the evening was definitely seeing a Kiwi in REAL LIFE. We had seen one at the Napier aquarium/zoo and that was pretty sweet – but to see one in the WILD!? We had a resident tell us they have lived in NZ for 6 years and never seen one.
Right outside the restaurant window was a ton of grassy fields and trees and bushes. Kiwis sleep in dark, covered spots all day and are nocturnal – so they wake up to eat during the night. We were eating dinner right at dusk around 9pm and right outside our table window! A KIWI. He must have just woke up. We were so excited. I have no picture proof. But we saw one!!
Nice back *heart eyes emoji here*
This is me running away from a bee. Randy thinks my fear is so funny. Um. I don’t.
The next day, we were onto Fox Glacier!