On Thursday we left Wellington via the ferry boat. It was a pretty cool experience to drive our rental car onto the giant ship, and then go upstairs to enjoy a beautiful lounge, wifi and food. We cruised through the Cook Strait to the south island, and once we got into calm waters it was beautiful.
We drove off the ship into Picton–it looked a lot like Pacifica, actually–check it out:
and from there drove a few hours to Nelson, known as the sunniest place in New Zealand. It lived up to its promise, and proved to be our sunniest three days all trip.
We checked in late to the Bug Hostel, and got three days of true hostel living. It was a great place, with free (spotty) internet, fresh baked bread in the morning, and a really cute private room in an old Victorian styled house.
We met a lot of travelers there, and the first night there was a pot luck which we enjoyed. Now Nelson is a cute little town, but the highlight was its proximity to Abel Tasman National Park. This is an amazing coastal wonderland of trails and bays. So the next day we drove up there (got a bit lost on the windy roads, which sucked), but we made it there before the last water taxi took off from the east end of the park. The water taxi driver was great and gave us a mini tour of the coast, then dropped us at Bark Bay, 20 k from our car. Yes, we did another monster run, and it was amazing.
The trail followed the coast with lots of ups and downs but tons of beautiful views and many bays to cross. I told Mark to run ahead at his pace, and I was cruising pretty good for the first hour. Then I had to cross a couple streams that took me awhile, and fell a bit behind. Still, I was about 12 k in when I bump into Mark running back my way. He was so relieved, and said that after awhile he started worrying about me, and couldn’t keep going. It was so cute. So we ran the last 8k together, and it was a great, beautiful run.