Nelson, New Zealand.
19.11.2013 - 20.12.2013 24 °C
I want to share with you all some exciting news-
I have EYEBROWS! Now, to your normal brown haired, haz-brows beauty, I understand this is not news at all but a daily trial of plucking and pruning, but for me, dear reader, a ginger with blonde as blonde brows and lashes, my sudden acquisition of two definite arches above my eyes is indeed blog-worthy.
What ridiculous fad has she embraced, I can hear you worrying. Has the henna of days past made a resurgence? Did someone take liberties with a sharpie while she slept? Oh good god, she hasn't HOME TINTED them has she?! You know, I wouldn't put it past her...
The truth is as follows. After just over a month here in Nelson, my face is so brown, and eyebrows so bleached blonde, that lo and behold they appeared all on their lonesome, allowing me to raise my eyebrows incredulously, or crinkle them in laughter, or raise them skyward in surprise.
Nelson is a truly wonderful beachside town reminiscent of many such towns at home in Aus. With a population of about 46,000 people plus the many campervan wielding tourists, it surprises me how small it really feels- riding my bike along the beach to work is a game of recognising cars of people I've met and spotting friends out paddle boarding. Settling in here was easy and fuss-free, a process hurried along by the incredibly welcoming community of kiters, bikers, climbers, trampers, yogis- you name it, if it's outdoorsy there is bound to be someone stopping by for coffee on their way to give it a shot. So far I've managed to faceplant, sideplant, and buttplant going off a kicker at a cable park, capsized a boat learning to sail, capsized a paddle board getting a bit big for my boots and trying pivot turns, relished getting chalk under my fingernails at the climbing gym and drooled over the map of an extensive cave system meandering down from Mt Arthur.
My foray into the Abel Tasman well and truly explained what all the fuss was about- I got a bit carried away with my camera and took about a billion photos. I've culled them down for you- these were all taken my very first weekend here, when I road tripped up to Wainui Bay for a kiting weekend away.
A group of us from Nelson headed up on Friday, enjoying the windy drive over Takaka Hill into 'hippy territory'- let the fisherman pants run free! Takaka is well-known for some of the best sport climbing in the country at Paynes Ford, and also for the many alternate lifestyle seekers who call the upper Abel Tasman home. It is certainly isolated, which I think does nothing but add to its charm.
When the wind didn't kick in on Saturday we went for a kayak around some wee islands, and enjoyed watching seals play around the rocks, with seabirds periodically diving down for a feed. After a well-earned lunch I headed off on the Abel Tasman Track, with the promise of a nudist beach and some amazing views. I didn't find the nudist beach, but I did find my own private beach, where I sunned and swam and frolicked before tramping back through the hills to dinner, starlight and fire poi.
We also were lucky enough to end up on Jacques Cousteau's old boat- which has been converted into a coffee shop! Being in a rural area as we were, I was hesitant in asking for soy in my iced coffee- only to have the eccentric lion-haired owner laugh, and offer hemp milk, brazil nut milk, almond milk- and if I gave him five minutes, he could whip up some hazelnut milk for me.
Kiting has lead to some other great adventures- we ended up in Marahau (special mention to A.Box and her bathtubs under the stars- I'll be heading back to check that out for sure) after a day tripping around to the Riwaka Resurgence (where the Riwaka river resurfaces after flowing under Takaka Hill) and were lucky enough to have wind- the abundance of amazing kitable beaches around here astounds me.
The Riwaka Resurgence was also awesome- freezing cold oh-my-god-I-think-my-body-just-went-into-shock-how-do-I-breathe-again-?! water forced squeals and screams as we cannonballed into Crystal Pool, only staying in long enough to appreciate the clarity of the pools and then leaping back onto rocks to sun ourselves like seals.
A hike closer to home, Nelson boasts to be the very centre of New Zealand- not strictly true, but a fun hike up the hill a hop skip and jump from mine.
This is the river behind my house- compare the sunny and the Middle-Earthesque mist on a rare cloudy day.
As I'm sure you've gathered, I couldn't be happier with my perch for the summer. I've been lucky enough to already have some cherished visitors both from Auckland and Aus, I've made some amazing friends (including a blue heeler pup that lives belongs to my housemate), found all sorts of activities to keep me busy and happy. It is a rare delight to not have to worry about leaving- I haven't booked any tickets from here, so can let my plans gel as naturally as I like. Harwood's Hole certainly looms in my future (give it a google image search), as does some kayaking in the Marlborough Sounds and hopefully some good ole multi-day getting-lost-in-the-wild tramps.
A very Merry Christmas to everyone- whether it is hot and sunny or snowing, I hope everyone has a wonderful day with family and friends or blue heeler pups and adventures.