We left Wellington on the morning ferry to Picton , a small and fairly irrelevant place on the north of the South Island. The journey across however is a 3 hour cruise through the beginnings of the Marlborough Sounds – which are Fjords to everyone else. Arriving in Picton we then drove the coastal road to Nelson, stopping every 5 minutes to admire the beautiful landscape, carved by ice and flooded by sea.
We spent the night in the tiny seaside town of Kaiteriteri, just meters from the beach, we had fish & chips and sat and watched the sun drop off the horizon into the Tasman Sea. A beautiful setting only slightly spoilt when a group of British teenagers turned up to skinny dip!
Up bright and early the next morning we drove to the end of the road, a ‘town’ called Marahau where we could take a water taxi up the coast to drop us in the national park. We decided to get dropped off in Bark Bay, we then trekked back to Marahau (approx 15 miles) through the coastal rainforest. We saw many types of birds, seals and some absolutely stunning scenery.
We left Abel Tasman and drove south along the rugged west coast of the Island, stopping in at Westport and the Pancake Rocks before finding a campsite just north of Franz Joseph glacier.
In the morning we hiked up to the face of Franz Joseph. We were informed the glacier has been quite unpredictable in the last couple of years, and so trekking on the ice has been prohibited and we were not allowed within 200m of the face.
Fortunately Fox glacier (some 25km down the road) is better behaved and Lou was able to don some crampons and go trekking on the ice in the afternoon, which she thoroughly enjoyed. This was something I did the last time I was in NZ so I decided to give it a miss this time around.