I flew into Nelson from Australia and met up with Danielle there. We stayed one night in a hostel and played cards with some hilarious guys from England. The next morning we drove down to Takaka, and along the way we stopped to go kayaking! It was my first time, and I really liked it. We paddled out to a sandy beach where I played in the water for awhile, which was also nice.
New Friends at Barefoot Hostel
We stayed at Barefoot Hostel in a small town called Takaka and met so many awesome people there! We had a good crew for hiking, trips to the beach, and exploring. Below are friends from Germany and Italy, but we also hungout with great people from other parts of the USA, France, and Belgium as well.
This was a nice easy hike that we did with our German and Italian friends out to a waterfall. The water was FREEZING, but one of the guys and I toughed the cold and swam for awhile, and he jumped off the rocks into the water as well.
Our French and Italian friends hiked up with us to Cape Farewell. It was so pretty - one side overlooking the ocean, and the other side full of grassy fields (and lots of sheep and cows, haha)
This is another one of the stunning beaches I've found in Oceania. There were seals (and baby seals, so cute!) out on the rocks! I discovered that one of my new friends loves the water just as much as I do, and we swam out until we were right next to the seals! I thought that they would get scared and swim away, but they were pretty calm. The waves were huge here and so fun to play in.
Abel Tasman Coastal Track
Danielle and I did a section of this popular multi-day hike. Several parts were along the beach, so halfway we stopped to rest on the sand and splash around in the water a bit before heading back.
This is a nice beach where we came to swim with our German and Italian friends. One of the guys and I tried swimming out to one of the islands, but halfway there we got scared of sharks and decided to turn around!
Sunset at our Secret Beach! :)
We made really good friends at the hostel where we stayed in Takaka, a town just outside of Abel Tasman National Park. We spent most of our time there all together, going hiking or swimming during the days, and playing Jenga or a crazy "round the world" ping pong game at night. Most of us were leaving on the same day, and we decided to end our time together well by making a roadtrip out to a special place to watch the sunset on our last night together. A friend of ours had seen a photo in the hostel of a beach that looked absolutely stunning, and we all agreed that it would be amazing to go there...but we had no idea what it was called or where it was. He eventually figured out generally where it was, and we piled up in his van and decided that we would at least try to find it!
We got lost 3 times and had to keep pulling over to the side of the road to look at maps, but eventually we got there, and it was so worth it! Jules and I stood up out of the sunroof and enjoyed the incredible views while Danielle and Andrea were roadtrip DJs, with the best throwback playlist.
After parking the car we had to walk a long way down a gravel road and then through some grassy fields, but the views were really nice along the way. We were the only people for miles, accompanied only by some sheep and cows.
When we got to the beach, we were the only people there. It was completely secluded and so beautiful. We swam in the water and jumped in the waves, and then ate the "dinner" we had packed- I introduced the French and Italian guys to their very first PB&J sandwiches ("American cuisine" haha).
Finally we climbed up to the top of some rocks to get a view of the sky as the sun set. When it got dark we climbed back down and made the long walk back to the car...it took us forever to get back because we kept stopping to stare at the night sky - it was so clear and the stars were shining so brightly; it was incredible! We could see the Southern Cross and the Milky Way. It was sad to say goodbye, but we plan to meet up again in Europe in the spring if we don't get a chance to see each other again in New Zealand.
New Zealand is a must-see destination for any adventure- and nature- lovers out there! See more from NZ's north and south islands here.