The next day was a super early get up call at about 6am. Trying not to wake up some of my roomies, I collected all my belongings then met the stray clang downstairs, where we were losing half the group as they were staying in Wellington longer. One of the English ladies was having a few more days there, which was sad for me as she was such a funny girl along with the Dutch guy (he was our hubbie who had 5 wives – funny story). They were my Hobbiton guys. The whole travelling thing is a weird concept of always meeting new people, literally feeling like you have known them for years, and then suddenly disappearing until the next time where you hope to meet them again some point in your life. It can be an emotional roller coaster.
Bidding our farewells to her, we were dropped off at the ferry terminal to depart the North Island. People looking a little worse for wear, we managed to climb aboard the ferry to take a seat in the comfy chairs, where I drank a coffee and watched a film.
After about 3 and a half hours of being on the water, we waited at Picton ferry terminal until the orange bus came to grab us. The bus was the fullest I had with about 38 people on it, all going to Abel Tasman. We had a long day of sitting on the bus ahead of us, where I mainly slept.
I had signed up for Hand gliding, which I was expecting to do the following day on our free day, however, about 20 minute before arriving we got told that we were going to do it that afternoon. When we arrived at the spot, four of us girl got off the bus, introduced ourselves to the team, signed some paper and waited for our go. I was second to go hand gliding. With a warm jacket, a helmet and sunnies, I stepped into a strait jacket like a caterpillar and then strapped into the glider horizontally with a driver lying underneath me. The glider was attached by a piece of rope by a tine place, which took off speedily into the air. I was dragged across the grass until flying in the air. Air blowing in face, I took in the incredible view overlooking Abel Tasman. Once we were at a certain height, we pulled a lever to be detached from the aeroplane. We were flying free. I put out my arm, feeling like a bird in the air, gliding. Suddenly, we did a couple of swoops to the ground, tossing and turning. Getting closer to the ground, I was thinking about how we would land smoothly. It wasn’t too long until we slid back across the grass to the station area. It was enthralling, feeling like a bird. Definitely a bucket list option ticked off my list.
When we had all had a go, we were taken by one of the owners to the supermarket to buy food for the next few days. Then we were driven to our hostel, which was like cabins by the national park and lake. After dumping our bags in the room, I socialised in the kitchen area, making and eating some BBQ food together and drinking wine. For the rest of the evening, I sat talking to some other people from the Haka tours and the driver before moving inside to be warmed up by the log fire. It was so cold outside.
Whilst most of the other travellers got up early to do a full day of activities like kayaking or canyoning or jet boat, I decided to have a bit of a rest day. Travelling really can take its toll of your sleep even if you’re just sitting on a bus. One of the other girls and I ate some breakfast together before going on a walk into Abel Tasman. The walk through the forest, next to beaches and a stunning view was just bliss. The actually walk was easy, no steps or hills, which was a plus as I was only wearing flip flops but unfortunately it kept sporadically raining so I did get soaked intermittently. When we reached a cave area on the pebbly beach, we turned round to head back to the hostel.
Back sitting at the log fire, I ate some lunch with a glass of hot wine in the hand, chatting to some of the others for a few hours. Slowly, the others started arriving back from their day of fun. The sun did decide to come out after a while, giving me a chance to start my tan.
For dinner, we ordered a burger from the famous Fat Tui burger place just down the road. Meeting at 6, we walked to the restaurant, well more of a caravan serving food with bench to sit at. I consumed a mussel patty burger with cheese, avocado, salad, a creamy sauce served in a seeded, light bun. It was so delicious and also huge like the size of my face.
When we reached the hostel, I was feeling knackered so I stayed out for a wee while before literally just collapsing in a pile on my bed. Some of the girls were joking around, making me laugh but I must have fallen asleep mid-laugh.