In order to get from the North Island to the South Island, there are only two ways: you could either fly or take one of the most scenic ferry rides in the world. Clearly I had to do the later. The Inter-island ferry leaves from Wellington harbor and arrives in Picton Harbor 3 and a half hours later.
The ferry has 9 levels of activities, with a bar, cafe, play area, 2 viewing decks, and even a movie theater on board. It was basically a mini-cruise ship.
My two german friends and I bored the ferry and headed to the north of the South Island ready to see the golden coast for 4 days. The ferry ride ended up being even more beautiful than we imagined.
an hour of the trip was spent on the open ocean, but for the rest of the time we passed by the beautiful north and south surrounding scenery. People were Sailing, kayaking, fishing, and even hiking along the shore.
When we finally arrived in Picton, we walked around for a little bit,
then grabbed some food, picked up our car, and were on our way.
It was supposed to take 2 hours to drive from Picton to Nelson, but it ended up being more like 3 and a half, because we stopped at every scenic view and 15 minute hike we could.
We stayed at a hostel in Nelson. It is known for being the ‘fish capital’ of new Zealand, so of course while we were there we ate a lot of delicious sea food.
Nelson is the biggest city in the North of the South Island.
It has beautiful green spaces, rivers, and even this beautiful church on top of a hill that we went to.
The next day we drove into the Golden bay and did a few short tramps (hikes) in the Abel Tasman National Park.
One of the tramps (hikes) lead us to the top of a mountain where we relaxed and were able to look over the entire valley
Throughout the entire tramp (hike) we did a lot of rock climbing, jumping and crawling. A lot of the weird rock formations were due to the amount of caves and wells that were underneath tramping path and created weird elevations in the ground.
Overall the tramp (hike) was beautiful and the forest was a stunning green that you can only find in New Zealand.
We ended the day further West in a small town called Collingwood. After checking into our hostel we borrowed the free bikes from the shed and took a short bike-ride to the beach.
The next morning we drove further north-west to the northeast point of the South Island. From there I went on an amazing horse trek ride around Cape Farewell. It was only my tour guide (Pam) and I on the horse-trek, and some how we both fell off our horses. We were both fine, nothing more than 2 or 3 bruises, but it makes for a interesting fun-fact.
We traveled through the wetlands, along the beach, into the bush (forest) and up a small mountain so that you could see the entire coast.
Later that day (after resting from falling off a horse) we drove back to the Abel Tasman National Park and took a Water taxi along the Tasman bay.
We passed by the Maori, Apple-split rock
Saw a few of the smallest penguins in the world (blue Penguins)
and even got a chance to see some sealions
The taxi dropped us off near anchorage bay which is the first stop along the Abel Tasman great walk. From there we tramped all the way back to our car.
The Tramp was supposed to take 3-4 hours, but it ended up taking around 6, because we stopped every chance we could to walk down to the beaches, and hang out in the sun.
At around 6, when low-tide was at its peak, we finished the tramp and drove back to nelson to spend our last night at the top of the south island.
In the morning, before leaving Nelson for good, we went on one last small tramp to the center of New Zealand.
After we made to to the monument we finally packed up and headed by to Picton, and the Inter-island ferry.
The golden bay, Abel Tasman, and the over North of the South Island was beautiful and usually not the first place travelers go when visiting the South Island. I highly recommend it to everyone who is spending any amount of time in New Zealand.