Split Apple Lodge
A quick flight to Nelson and we are on the South Island.
We stopped into Mapua, a small seaside place – reminds us a bit of Steveston. A few small artisan shops, restaurants and bars. A really lovely little place – must be hopping in the season.
We had fish and chips and ate them at the wine bar next door. There is a coffee shop that makes their coffee from the neighbouring store which roasts and grinds coffee. All in all a lovely little spot.
We are staying at the Split Apple Lodge – a boutique ecotel and spa. We are glad to have Google Maps – the road to get there is windy and steep and narrow and certainly has no room to turn around. We see the odd cyclist and walker, but there is no shoulder and these activities look a bit dodgy. Only 6 rooms, ours look over to the Abel Tasman National Park Hills. The eco lodge is beautiful – set by itself high on the hill. There is nothing around. In the rooms, the design is minimalist--there is absolutely no room for storage of clothing or toothbrushes or anything. We are, again, the oldest people here. There is a hot tub, and sauna, but it is unlikely that any of us will use them. The view of the young buns from the lounge is a bit intimidating.
Robin and Rich drove into the nearest “town” and picked us some pizza and wine for dinner. There is a communal kitchen so that part was easy. Robin opened the wine, the wrong wine, and we waited for the “owner” to come by. He was understanding, accepted our wine instead, and told us the next day that ours was better than the one he had bought. The wine available here in the stores is quite minimal, quite cheap, and drinkable, but only just.
Thur. Nov. 21
We drove over to Stephens Bay to meet our skipper and her helper for our day on the sea. We moved up the coast stopping at various points, going closer to the shore to see birds, trees, the Split Apple Rock up close. We made a stop for LK and Robin to go kayaking, while Rich and I did a walk. There is a long trail that goes through the park and comes out near the sea in many places. It is beautifully maintained, and all very organized. There are shuttles that take hikers to various parts of the trail, huts to sleep in, rest areas. Some do a 3 or so day trek, others, a day trip, and some like us do it by boat. We had a lovely day, a lovely lunch. We drove into Marahau, about 10 minutes away, for dinner at Hooked. As usual, great food.
Friday, Nov. 22
Lucy picked us up for our day in Golder Bay. Lucy was a lot of fun, we really liked her.
We drove over Waimea Plains, (Yes, there are a lot of words here that sound and look like Hawaiian), through the Upper Moutere and up Takaka Hill. Golden Bay is not actually far from Nelson, but it is hard to get to and seems very remote. We stopped and walked through ancient granite and marble rock outcrops and into the forest. Te Waikoropupu Springs are the largest freshwater springs in NZ—the water wells up into a very clear pool. The water looks about a meter deep but is actually 10. The area around is wahi tapu, a place held in high cultural and spiritual regard, and as such the water is not to be touched. We stopped for lunch at Ligar Bay, and while Lucy got our lunch ready, we wandered over the sand, admiring the shells. The weather has cooperated so far!
We drove to a small limestone area shaped and worn by undersea currents (NZ was pushed up from the sea, so there are lots of areas that look like they were once underwater). It was quite beautiful, but I was really uncomfortable. I had the feeling that I was not welcome in that place, and although Lucy said the forest here did not have any religious significance, I was glad when we left.
Dinner had been so good we went back to Hooked for dinner. Also, it was the nearest place to eat.