Since we’re almost going home, we had to start acting Dutch again. So we took our hostels crappy bikes and headed to Pohara Beach. The sun was burning and the bikes hurt, but we made it. We even crossed a Dutch scenery (read cows in meadows) and it almost started to feel like we were in Friesland already. Once we arrived at the beach we threw down our bikes and ran to the sea. A quick dive made sure we cooled down and we spend the rest of the afternoon warming up again in the sun. The contrast of yesterday, waking up while it’s freezing, and today, lying in our swimsuits on our private beach in the Golden Bay, made us appreciate the warm north even more! For dinner we treated ourselves with Miriam’s favourite dish: chicken out of the oven with special sauce and veggies.
We woke up, only to find out that some people stole our food. Despite the negative surprise this morning, we had a really fun day with beautiful weather once again. On recommendation of Allen, the hyper active hostel owner, we visited the Wanui Falls. After a brief refreshing look (it was a powerful waterfall, which caused everybody who stood too close to get wet) we went on to the end/start of the Abel Tasman Track. A quick lunch in the car made sure we were fueled up for another part of this Great Walk. The walk was beautiful, big green palm trees on the one side and golden beaches with azure blue water on the other. However, the moment we reached the hut it looked like it would start to rain so we picked up the pace and were back in no time. Back at the hostel we met Silvana and while eating our amazing self-made wraps dish, we had a fun evening talking with her.
A beautiful and warm day made us chill out in the amazing backyard with hammocks most of the day. However, we did explore the hippie town by visiting every cute, weird shop and multiple interesting art galleries. While eating our self-made pizza for dinner, we watched some episodes from our new guilty pleasure: The Tomorrow People (since there are no more episodes of ‘The 100’ yet).
Before our journey continued to Motueka, we revisited the Hippie Market with Silvana. It was even smaller than last time, but still a really great atmosphere. Once arrived at the airport in Motueka for Miriam’s skydive, the excitement rose. Miriam suited up, stepped in the airplane and went up up up, till 13,000 ft (4km)! Then the doors opened and it was time to back flip out of the plane. It was a surreal experience and Mirte got it on camera. Next stop was back to Canaan Downs, where we wanted to gaze at the most amazing starry night we have ever seen (see week 11&12). But before we could admire this, we went to Harwood Hole, a place where Mirte had an obsession with for 2,5 months now. Since you have to abseil for 30 meters first, the place is just meant for cavers and we couldn’t look directly into the hole without risking our lives. Mirte did however risk her life to get Miriam’s bottle, she’s been carrying it around from day one, from in between the rocks. It took some acrobatic maneuvers but victory was ours! We also took a spontaneous side road, which took us to a wonderful and dangerous view over the valley. Back at the campsite we already saw a beautiful night sky at dusk. Maybe you can imagine how it would have been for us when it was pitch black. We could see the most intimidating starry night with the enormous milky way. Stars were falling and we got dizzy looking up to this miracle of nature.
Great things come at a cost. To be able to see this wonder, we knew we had to endure a freezing night on our front seats in the car. Clearly this wasn’t our best sleep. The moment we woke up, we fled the freezing temperature to a lower altitude to have breakfast. To completely warm up, we went to the 21 °C Pelorus Bridge. We could bear the sandflies a couple of hours, but at a certain moment we decided to drive on to Blenheim. Over there we wrote this blogpost in a big hamster wheel and we could finally tick off our Mc Drive experience. It is sort of a tradition for Mirte’s family to go through the Mc Drive on the way back from holidays, indicating the end of the vacation. We have been planning to do this from the beginning!
The main reason we went to Blenheim, was to visit Hunter’s and be at the place we called our home for 2 months. Being in Blenheim and seeing all the places where we had our adventures was already weird. However, the moment we were driving our old route to work, we got butterflies and not just because of the rollercoaster bumps in the road. When we walked in, we saw the happy and surprised faces of Julie and Amber. Also Peter MacDonald, Nicky and Wayne came by. After we caught up, we said goodbye forever. This felt really weird. However, we had planned another fun thing for today: winery tour on a tandem! We got our recommendations from Amber and took off at 1 o’clock. We tasted some familiar wines, but also some new wines and we had a lot of fun doing so. However, there was an extra thrill to the tour. Because New Zealand barely has bike lanes, you are forced to cycle on the side of a 100 km/h road. But of course we nailed it.
Anzac Day is a very important day in New Zealand. It’s the day of remembrance, commemorating all the Australian and New Zealand soldiers who served and died in all wars. Originated from the ANZAC fighting in Gallipoli. We heard there was a commemoration at 11 o’clock in Blenheim. Because we already knew quite a lot about Gallipoli, thanks to our visit to the Te Papa museum, we wanted to be there. It was way bigger than we expected it to be. It was very impressive to see all the parades and soldiers, hear the speeches and the three salvo’s. All of this had a big impact on us and we were really happy to be a part of this.
Love Miriam & Mirte