Thursday, November 26, 2009


I've been staying with my friends, Chris and Mara, in Nelson for the past couple nights. I met Chris at the first research station I volunteered at. He's a Brit, but he's lived and worked and volunteered in New Zealand for the past couple years or so. Mara is his girlfriend. She lives and works in Nelson. Chris just came back to the country from Australia the other day. I met Mara in Christchurch and then we picked Chris up at the airport. We spent the next two days driving back up to Nelson.

We made several stops along the way. This is me infront of a braided river wearing a merino wool sweater and eating a toffee pop. Kiwi as. The weather was perfect.

This is actually a rushing river with snow-capped mountains in the background and huge hills on either side with a natural hotspring pool right at the edge of the river. This place was so incredible. It was warm enough out to splash around in the cold river then hop into the hot pools, but cool enough to enjoy the heat of the water. There were two big pools, one warm, one warmer. You could dig your hands and feet into the hot sand at the bottom. We spent time in both of them. What a cool place to stop. I love hanging out with the locals who know all the interesting places!

Mara and I in the big hotpool. The river is actually at the same water level of the pool, but the pool is deeper for some reason.

Driving over the mountains from the east side of the South Island where Christchurch is located, to the northwest side where Nelson is located is just incredible. The views are amazing and there are so many places to stop and see interesting things. This is one waterfall we hiked up to. It's very tall, hard to tell from this picture, unfortunately.

Chris and Mara on the bridge over the sluice near Springs Falls. We stopped and stayed at the Department of Conservation house for the night.

Another waterfall we stopped at the next day. I think this one is called Mariua Falls, something like that.

This morning I left Nelson bright and early at 7:30 am. I'm in Hokitika now. It's a cool little town on the Tasman Sea. The hostel I'm staying in is very nice. More of a hotel than a hostel. I'll write more later!

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