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Previous Day: Day 30 – Hokitika to Murchison

Day 31 – Murchison to Golden Bay

Hi all you trusty followers – after a famine of updates, you’ll get a feast now. We’ve been out of internet range for the last few days, so we have some catching up to do….

The first part of our journey was through the Buller Gorge, to the Kawatiri Junction, where we’d seen the Buller Industrial Area on day xx. But at this point we headed north, towards Motueka and Golden Bay. It’s a lovely drive, and the scenery is very green and full of market gardens. There are hops, vineyards, apples, pears and other fruit growing.

Motueka

The first place we stopped was Motueka, the gateway to the Abel Tasman National Park. As it was a Sunday, the market was in full swing – well worth a visit, with local produce and art (such as greenstone jewellery on sale. There was a very pleasant coffee van in the middle, with some tables and chairs – just right for a sit-down. Motueka looks to be a decent sized little town – there are cafes, various shops, bars, banks, and an information centre. This really is the place to stock up with anything you need though – the towns (villages?) further north are a bit smaller.

Kaiteriteri

We took a detour off the main road just north of Motueka, towards Kaiteriteri. This is rather an apt name for me, as ‘Kai’ is the Maori for food,and I’m (of course) called Terri. And as my hobby is food – well! Kaiteriteri is on an extremely pleasant bay, with the most beautiful golden sand. There are plenty of things to do here, including boat trips, water taxis (so you can get dropped of then walk back), and kayaks to hire. Very nice – but we got the impression it could be a tad expensive to buy a place here…

Takaka

Then it was on to Takaka. The road to Takaka runs between the Abel Tasman National Park and the nuch larger Kahurangi National Park. It’s very steep and winding, and you have toi take it reasonably slowly. This means that the 55 km takes longer than you think. There’s a viewpoint halfway along it, that looks back to Motueka.

Then you go over the hill, and you’re heading towards Golden Bay. We didn’t stay long in Takaka (we’ll be going back that way later), but carried on towards the backpackers that we’d booked into. But there was a stop along the way – at the top of the road is ‘The Mussell Inn’, and – as it was now 4:00 pm it was time for a drink. And very pleasant it was. A very presentable cider for me, and a lager for Art. They do food here too (no chips!), and wwe think there’s a band on later, so we’ll be back!

Shambhala Backpackers

We had chosen this backpackers because we’d had such a good time in ‘The Catlins Beach House’ – and Shambhala is also advertised as absolute beachfront. Well! What a difference! To get to Shambhala you go 16 km past Takaka, towards Collingwood, then down a 2 km long dirt track just opposite the Mussell Inn.

Shamblah is advertised as an Eco Lodge, and when you get there your first impression is of the wonderful away from it all location. There is a house with a roof that is covered in solar panels. It turns out that Shambhala is off everything – electricity, water, sewerage – you nane it! (however, we do get vodafone coverage). So the solar panels generate electricity and heat the water. The water is all from rain. The toilets are all ‘longdrops’ – men are encouraged to find a tree to pee against! It’s all a bit basic, but very tranquil.We joked that we’d fallen into the hands of a secret sect!

We could have chosen a room in the main house, or in one of the rooms in the grounds further up the hill. We chose one in the grounds, that looks right out over the sea. The kitchen units look like they’ve been made out of old orange boxes, and cooking facilities consist of two old black LPG gas rings. Even the toaster is on the gas! So it doesn’t look like I’ll be cooking my chicken in here…..

Then Art went for a walk up the hill. He came back, insisting that I take the same walk. Just above us is the best maintained building in the place – Shambhala Hall. This is ‘for meditation and yoga’ and there are classes and massages available….. So we were right! We have fallen into the hands of a secret sect! (If we get to publish this then disappear off the face of the earth you now know where to look….)

At Shambhala, we met Martin. Martin was a brit who had been travelling and working around the world looking for a home. I believe he found it at Shambhala, but the place was closing in two weeks for the winter

The Mussel Inn

As I’d bought half a chicken for a meal, on the assumption that there’d be a cooker or at least be a microwave I could cook it in, we decided to get dinner at the local ‘Mussel Inn’.

The Nelson area is famous for a number of ‘microbreweries’, that brew their own beer and cider from local hops and apples. And it just so happened the ‘Mussel Inn’, just a 20 minute walk up the driveway from Shambhala, is one of them. The did an extremely passable cider (in fact one of the best I’ve tasted for a while), and ‘golden beer’ (lager to you Brits.

There is a short but very good menu, that is very unusual for an inn – no chips (fries, to all you non-Brits)! There are a few ‘light meals’ like soup and nachos, and (of course) Mussel Chowder and just straight mussels. Of course we avoided these, as we don’t eat shellfish. Instead we settled for an extremely good rib-eye steak, with side green and potato salad.

Sandflies bearable

Next day: Day 32 – Golden Bay

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terris_travelogue/south_island/day_31.txt · Last modified: 2010/11/10 20:12 by art
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