Find Part I The North Island here.
MULTI-PAGE long read!
SOUTH ISLAND of New Zealand
My “home” whirlwind tour continued south, zooming from Picton to Stewart Island. (Well. It took two months. Is that zooming?) I visited familiar landscapes, discovered new beauty spots and felt honoured to be among my hosts, beloved friends and family. Tena kotu! We were able to reminisce (with much tears and laughter) about those who have gone from this land and celebrate fresh youth, chubby babies, surrounded by hope and love.
I hope you enjoy reading through my journey, finding places that might interest you and become reassured it is more than possible to make your way around NZ by public transport. As you will see, it really is a relaxing way to travel.
And again, as I revisited places known as an adolescent, I considered the possibility of returning to this place to live. Where was my ‘home’? What was the attraction that might make it so again? What could the future hold?
From Picton I caught the first of my Intercity coaches to Nelson. I understand there are flexi passes available, brilliant if you know you’ll be doing a lot of bus travel, but I didn’t have a clue what I was doing so just bought each ticket as it became relevant to my plans.
Nelson is an energetic, growing, city with iconic, beautiful wooden buildings and an enviable climate. My delightful cousin picked me up from the bus stop and took me to her place high in the hills away from the bustle of town traffic. Very grateful for the chance to stay with her, more than once, as I came and went through Nelson, borrowing tent, sleeping mat and even eating utensils!
Next time you’re in Nelson, I cannot recommend the young woman in Nelson’s central travel spot (SBL Travel), next to the main bus stop, more highly. Extremely knowledgeable about the area, she made all my planning and travel connections smooth and straightforward. Plus, she’s good fun!
Note the tsunami sign – Get Gone – not a common sight in other countries. NZ is very earthquake aware. What to do in an earthquake?
Once you’ve practiced that you can get back on your bus.
I moved from Nelson to Motueka to much laughter with cousin and friend.
Motueka is very much a farming community. Once centered on tobacco, now hops, there are still plenty of fruit orchards and some vineyards to support the growing population.
Mot (familiar nickname) is also known as a hub for the Abel Tasman National Park, another haven I’d get to visit shortly.
And thence by bus to Takaka with wonderful scenic, although ear-popping swirl through bush, valley and dramatic glimpses of sea.
I spent Christmas and New Year in a yoga retreat called Anahata, on the tip of the Takaka hill. This was a beautiful experience and I urge you to try any yoga retreat and, if you happen to be near the heart of New Zealand, Anahata is a wonderful place to start.
I spent the days before Christmas contemplating generosity and kindness and the days after working as a Karma Yogi, enjoying fulfilling tasks shoulder to shoulder with some intelligent and heart-warming young travellers. Thank you, beautiful people! And if you ever get the chance to visit Anahata for the New Year ceremony … do it.
back to Nelson and back to Picton
The same 66 curves and the views looked even more dramatic from the other direction!
From Nelson, I caught the bus back to Picton. At the cute little railway station I was able to check in my bag early and then proceeded to shove through the hundreds of visitors, out of the large cruise ship in port, to get to some vegan pizza. Many people crammed into cafes and picked over paua shell earrings and pounamu necklaces as I filled in the time before my train was to leave.
Already loving nature piccees, waterholes, on just the first page!
So lucky to get your journal back
Inspiring with lots of helpful information so others can do this great journey.
Thank you, Red Bag will Travel,
So grateful you found the time! I hope the post will prove useful. So many tourists travelling through NZ miss a lot of the country by flying or self-driving when they could be kicking back, relaxing and watching the dolphins dance!