New Zealand – Tasman, Nelson & Marlborough (St Arnaud, Lake Rotoiti, Abel Tasman, Nelson, French Pass, Picton)

We saved the northern section of the south island for last because we were scheduled to meet the ferry in Picton for the short ride across the Cook Strait to Wellington. This section of New Zealand did not disappoint with some spectacular sights for our last 2 weeks. First up was pretty Nelson Lakes National Park, where we visited the excellent DOC visitor center in St Arnaud and got the scoop on the hike up Mt Robert with fine views over Lake Rotoiti. Then it was a drive up to petite Kaiteriteri where we had a few excursions into Abel Tasman National Park (kayaking Kaiteriteri, Ngaio Island and Split Apple Rock, cruising to Adele Island and Anchorage for a hike out to Cleopatra’s Pool, checking out Tonga Island Marine Reserve, and hiking Tonga Quarry Beach to Bark Bay inlet). We also took some time to venture out to Takaka. Highlights near Takaka included the Te Waikoropupu Springs, the Pupu Hydro Walkway, the Grove scenic reserve (awesome, do not miss amazing limestone canyon walk), and Rawhiti Cave (worth the huff and puff to the top of the mountain…trust us!). From Abel Tasman, we drove towards Nelson where we checked out the Heritage Founders Park which was quite enjoyable. However, the real star of this area is undoubtedly the drive out to the French Pass. There are not enough superlatives to explain just how jaw droppingly gorgeous this drive was…two huge thumbs up!!! The remainder of our time was in Picton where we caught a tour of the Edwin Fox museum which is well worth a visit. Then it was onto the Interislander Ferry linking Picton to Wellington via the picturesque Marlborough Sounds. Goodbye beautiful South Island…thanks for the amazing memories!

Becky feeding a black swan; Lake Rotoroa Frosty drive to Mount Robert Fresh snow on ferns; Mount Robert A beautiful sunrise as we start our hike up Mount Robert Becky trudging up the steep snowy track leading to the peak of Mount Robert View as we hike up Mount Robert The cloud cover lifts by mid-morning; Mt Robert Selfie on Mount Robert Soaking up the amazing view; Mount Robert Lake Rotoiti Hungry pony Enjoying our morning with Kaiteriteri Kayak Kayaking to Split Apple Rock, the most photographed rock formation in Abel Tasman National Park Stopping for morning tea; Split Apple Rock beach Robby checking out the interesting caves of Split Apple Rock beach Meg, Noah and Robby get ready to kayak again; Abel Tasman National Park Smiling after our morning excursion with Kaiteriteri Kayaks Panorama of Adele Island Emerald steam on our hike to Cleopatra’s Pool; Abel Tasman National Park A persistent fantail begs for food Cleopatra’s Pool Bridge on our hike to Cleopatra's Pool; Abel Tasman Rock formations on Anchorage Beach Posing beneath a natural archway; Anchorage Beach Blue starfish; Anchorage Beach Red barn near Marble Hills Resort campsite; Marahau Visiting Split Apple Rock with Wilsons Abel Tasman Ngaio Island; Abel Tasman National Park New Zealand Fur Seals at Adele Island Robby enjoying our hike from Tonga Quarry to Bark Bay; Abel Tasman Swing bridge; Bark Bay Posing by the waterfall in Bark Bay; Abel Tasman Low tide at Bark Bay Inlet Tree fern; Abel Tasman National Park Pine cones; Abel Tasman New Zealand bell bird; Abel Tasman Robby next to a Maori statue; Medlands Beach Becky on the walkway to Te Waikoropupu Springs Robby beside Te Waikoropupu Springs, the largest freshwater springs in the southern hemisphere Pretty aqua hue of Te Waikoropupu Springs Robby inside the Upper Bubu hut; Pupu Hydro Walkway Narrow path at the Pupu Hydro Walkway Limestone gully at Grove Scenic Reserve Robby enjoying our short hike through the limestone gullies of Grove Scenic Reserve Drive out to Rawhiti Cave Curious calves check us out; Rawhiti Cave Robby impressed with the phytokarst features of Rawhiti Cave Scenic drive as we leave Abel Tasman National Park for Nelson Spiral aloe vera plant; Christ Church Cathedral in Nelson Ornamental Purple Cabbage Plant; Christ Church Cathedral garden in Nelson Tula and Niles, one of the shops on Nelson's Antique Trail Giant squid artwork; Nelson Suter Art Gallery; Nelson Colorful artwork; Founders Heritage Park in Nelson Founders Heritage Park; Nelson Old Fire Station; Founders Heritage Park Becky standing beside a six-horse wagon linking Foxhill to Murchison Robby next to a massive wagon wheel; Founders Heritage Park A beautiful day to explore the Founders Heritage Park, a museum housing a collection of historical buildings in Nelson Panorama of Founders Historical Park; Nelson Mural on a public toilet enroute to Elaine Bay Campsite View on our drive to Elaine Bay Campsite Sunrise at Elaine Bay Campsite Driving the French Pass road is a visual treat with amazing views such as this; Marlborough Sounds As we drive further along on the gravel road, the view gets better and better; Marlborough Sounds Spectacular location for a farm; Marlborough Sounds We kept pinching ourselves to make sure we weren't dreaming up these phenomenal views on the drive out to the French Pass! Stopping to check out the jaw dropping views; Marlborough Sounds Even though we weren't technically supposed to drive our rental on a gravel road, we had to break the rules to check out the gorgeous Marlborough Sounds area! Monument of Pelorus Jack, a Risso's dolphin famous for escorting ships through the treacherous Cook Strait French Pass jetty Maori carving; French Pass More stunning views on our drive back from the French Pass We picked a spectacular day to explore the French Pass with hardly any other vehicles in sight and phenomenal weather! Cows begrudgingly allowing us to pass; Marlborough Sounds View on the drive to Bulwer Bay; Marlborough Sounds Pukeko mural Robby petting a pony Funky cow art Animal mailboxes near Ohingaroa Bay Rustic house with a fish mailbox Visiting the Edwin Fox, the world's second oldest merchant sailing ship; Picton Robby sitting in a bunk bed on the Edwin Fox Interior hull view of the Edwin Fox Copper plating visible on the exterior of the Edwin Fox, the only surviving ship that transported convicts to Australia Shag sitting on the pier by the Edwin Fox Maritime Museum; Picton A shag drying its wings; Picton WWI memorial in Picton View of Picton harbor Cruising the Marlborough Sounds Robby enjoying the scenic voyage between Picton and Wellington on the Interislander Ferry Bidding goodbye to the South Island as we cruise to the North Island foto gallery lightboxby v6.1

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