Believe it or not, this used to be a blog about cycle-touring!! After a whole lot of backpacking and bus-riding, hiking into the hills, and drinking til we dropped, we actually mounted our trusty bicycles, and pedalled a few miles, fully-loaded once again. From Blenheim, we headed North-West to the small town of Havelock, the last stop before we’d head into the Marlborough Sounds for a camping adventure.
Not much happens in Havelock, but we entertained ourselves with a short, scenic hike, and did our shopping for the planned trip. We’d visited the Sounds on our NZ holiday 5 years ago, and it was one of our favourite places, if not THE favourite, so we were pretty excited.
We awoke the following day, packed up our stuff and headed to the campsite office to double check the weather forecast. Oh dear! Heavy rain was coming our way, with weather warnings and watches a-plenty. Not really camping weather…..the weather changes here a lot more often than we change our clothing!
Sighs were sighed and we hastily altered our plans. We cycled to Picton, holed up in a hostel (taking great advantage of their free Netflix, breakfast, soup and chocolate pudding) and wondered what to do next. Should we bin off the Sounds and just head straight to Wellington?? The snag being that we’d then have an awful lot of time on our hands before heading to Auckland, without a whole lot more to see. Or should we head into the Sounds as originally planned? The snag being that we’d have to backtrack along the impossibly scenic Queen Charlotte Drive for a whopping 20K…..in hindsight, it was a bit of a no brainer!
We had various camping options alongside beautiful Kenepuru Sound which would dictate the length of our journey. The closest campsite at Moetapu Bay was out because it floods during a king tide….quite glad I read the info AND checked the tides beforehand! The arduous terrain soon ruled out the furthest option, so we actually ended up camping at Nikau Cove, where we’d stayed at in our camper in 2013. As we couldn’t remember much about it, this wasn’t a huge downside! Amusingly, digging out the old photos I now realise we actually camped in exactly the same spot…..
Funnily enough, not many people are keen on camping in the southern-hemisphere equivalent of mid-November, so it wasn’t exactly packed, and there certainly weren’t any other tents around!
In a bid to sit still for as little time as possible, we took our campsite cookery to a new level, and made flatbreads! They need work, but turned out pretty well and were an excellent accompaniment to our instant curry and mash. Shame no one brought any wine…..
We didn’t actually freeze despite my concerns (and thanks to $20 worth of blankets to supplement our summer sleeping bags) but we didn’t repeat the swim from 5 years ago either. We also didn’t drown in the king tide – I was worried, Ed just laughed at me.
Oh, and the stars were pretty awesome. We have even figured out how to find the Southern Cross (how many astrophysics PhDs does it take blah blah blah….)
We slept pretty well, meaning we had the energy to repeat the hilly journey all the way back to Picton the next day for more of these views…..
and more chocolate pudding!!!
Still no wine though. Standards really are slipping.
My Emirates app informs me that we have just 17 days left in New Zealand. We are SUPER excited about getting to Australia (assuming they let me in, obvs, given previous debacles!) but also really looking forward to one last hurrah on the bikes, taking the TRAIN all the way to Auckland, and catching up with the very lovely Jihanny Baby once again!
More weather warnings for tomorrow…..this time for wind. Wish us luck on the bumpy ferry! Travel sickness tablets have been purchased in anticipation…..