Being a Tourist in our own country!
We made a spur of the moment decision to take a short holiday in the middle of January, at the hight of the tourist season and to a major tourist destination; Kaiteriteri, Golden bay. We had no accommodation booked and knew it might become a problem but still we figured there would be a bed somewhere available.
The summer had been cool and overcast, not like our usual very hot summers, not only in Marlborough but right over the whole country. We thought it must be time the weather took a turn for the better, and we were right!
After placing our spoilt cats in a luxury Cattery – more a cat motel than any thing else, we headed over towards Nelson, stopping at their big Flea Market for lunch and to browse through some of the market stalls. For some reason we chose to have homemade German sausage in a home baked bun for lunch and it was very filling and tasty, this was unusual, as we normally would have had a Thai or Chinese meal.
The weather in Nelson was no better than in Blenheim, but as we drove on towards Kaiteriteri gradually it became more promising; warmer and much more sunny.
Arriving at the beautiful golden sands beach , we went directly to the Kaiteriteri Motor Camp, which is the major accommodation on offer in the small coastal beach settlement, not really a town, there is just one dairy/grocery shop selling also petrol and two quite different café restaurant places, and tourist boat hire and tour centres.
The Camping ground is huge, acres and acres of land covered with caravans and tents and small and large cabins. We had plans of hiring one of these cabins of any size, but were quickly disillusioned of this idea, everything was completely booked out until halfway through February!
We drove around through the camp and were amazed just how very many people were crammed into the camp, the caravans were almost touching each other, every inch was being used but some holidaymaker, we would have hated trying to live in this close proximity to all those other people.
We spent some time relaxing on the golden sands while we thought about our next move, all around us we could hear hundreds of people, tourists, chatting happily all in a foreign language, mainly German or Dutch we thought, hardly any English! Made one wonder just where we were! There were ofcause hundreds of Kiwis with the caravans in the camp as well.
The decision we made was to try and find a home stay private house with a vacancy. We fairly quickly found one, Everton B&B a luxury big three story home at Little Kaiteriteri, which is the next bay with almost as pretty a beach also with Golden sands, but more exclusive, the rich a famous build huge mansions in this bay since there is no real space to build at the main beach any more.
We met the host and hostess Martin and Diane booked a lovely twin room with a beautiful view for $120 not very cheap but still not terribly expensive for what we were getting, a very comfortable room for the night plus a beautiful breakfast and also the great company of the two other couples of our own age that booked in just after us, one from the isle of Skye in Brittain and the other from the Nederland’s, plus the owners who turned out to have a friend in common with us, it is truly a small world. When we told them we were from Blenheim Diane said she had a friend who had recently been widowed and sold her farm to move into Blenheim, I asked if this was Rona, and to our amazement she said yes it was Rona. (This is a lady I frequently send and receive emails from) amazing!
We then went off for a drive to several other nice beaches and enjoyed the views, before arriving at our choice of café for the evening meal at Marahou the tiny village at the start of the Abel Tasman Walkway, a wonderful long tramping walk that takes several days and lots of fitness to attempt – not for us! However we did go on the shorter nature walks all around the area looking at the birds and the flora of the area before and after our delicious meal and a couple of glasses of lovely wine. We then drove back to the homestead; which we should not have done after all that wine but it was isolated deserted roads with no Police for miles, so we did.
Back at the homestead we settled down in the cool of the evening, with all the other couples for an evening of more wine, coffee, nightcaps of strong liquors and much noisy talking! Such a very enjoyable time for all of us. When at about midnight we all decided to go to bed, halfway up the staircase the power suddenly went out, leaving us all in the dark in a strange house! The hostess quickly found torches and candles for us all and it was like going back in time to take a candle or a torch to bed and even more so when I had a romantic type shower by candle light, now that was a first for me!
Breakfast next morning, the power was back on, some car had smashed into a pole and taken the power out for the whole district. Another noisy time of chatting, laughing and eating strawberries and yoghurt for breakfast with homemade muffins – the smell of which had awoken us to the new day.
Was hard to leave such a happy place, but we thought we would move on as the mood took us, or the fates led us, just stopping when we felt like it.
We saw a man looking lost dragging his suitcase down the road, and most unusually for us taxi drivers who never ever pickup hitchhikers, we stopped and asked if we could assist him. He was a German with little English, who had missed the bus to Motueka and was going to try and walk there, a distance of about 20 km, so we decided to take him to Motueka. When we got there we found another big Market day in progress and decided to browse around the stalls, where we happily ran into again all the couples from the Homestead the night before. After quite a bit of buying interesting odds and ends from the market, we noticed a brand new Back packers building across the road and decided to see if a room was vacant, and it was! Yet another place just full of German people, haha, there are so many touring around the district at present. Fortunately almost all of them have excellent English and are happy to chat.
We happily stayed in the very nice friendly Hat Trick Lodge Backpackers for two nights; we had our own private room, just like a Motel really but cheaper and with more company. There were balcony’s all around and a huge communal kitchen and lounge all on the top story with great views every which way At night we were lucky enough to be able to watch the McNaught Comet as it streaked across the sky with its long tail burning brightly – very impressive. Not a case of too much wine, it really was there!
Strangely Motueka has a strong German History, (virtually the only part of New Zealand with this) we found this out as we visited the local Museum and looked through the display of German settlers who arrived in Motueka on board th Barque St Pauli, which left Hamburg 26th Dec 1842 and arrived in Motueka 14th June 1843 after a stopover in Brazil on the way. The Barque carried 103 passengers or rather that is how many landed, several died on the journey and others were born, and from this company; the district was started. They landed on a bare beach with forest right to the seashore and had to clear a path as they went while trying to build homes or shelters for themselves and their goods and animals. A very hard life for these folk who were not the lower working class people but more businessmen, missionaries and people with trades, not farmers either, but that is what they all had to become to survive. One has to admire them, after much hard work they finally got crops growing only to have the big rivers flood and destroy their homes and crops! Then those that chose to stay, many didn’t, started again on higher ground and managed to eke out a living and found a small town, many grew grapes and made wine, we did a short wine trail and tried some of the German style Riesling, which was sweeter than we enjoy, and also their Sauvignon, which we thought was not as good as Marlborough’s, but still very drinkable!
We had a very pleasant holiday in Motueka being restful and relaxed, enjoying the hot weather, before leaving for Nelson to meet up with my Daughter Nyle and Granddaughter Shakara for lunch in Nelson, another happy time was had over large plates of Indian food, and shopping for computer games with Shakara, an interest experience in its self, we both ended up buying some good games? We shall see if they are!