Transport of delights through Aotearoa New Zealand Part II The South

Find Part I The North Island here.

MULTI-PAGE long read!

Bluebridge Ferry parked in Picton
Bluebridge Ferry parked in Picton

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?

Picton

Picton harbour quiet on one side and a bustling township on the other
Picton harbour quiet on one side and a bustling township on the other

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.

Picton harbour looking at the InterIslander ferry
Picton harbour looking at the InterIslander ferry – I’d be catching that in a couple of months

Nelson

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!

From Todd Valley, looking down to Nelson and over to Motueka on the other side of the water
From Todd Valley, looking down to Nelson and over to Motueka on the other side of the water. You can see a pale line of water straight across – that’s the boulder bank.

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!

The Boulder Bank stretches across the bay at Nelson
The Boulder Bank stretches across the bay at Nelson – no straight lines in nature?
It's hard to believe the Boulder Bank is natural but DOC says so
It’s hard to believe the Boulder Bank is natural but if DOC says so …

Note the tsunami sign – Get Gone – not a common sight in other countries. NZ is very earthquake aware. What to do in an earthquake?

Drop, cover and hold

Once you’ve practiced that you can get back on your bus.

Bus waiting at Motueka
Bus waiting at Motueka

Motueka

I moved from Nelson to Motueka to much laughter with cousin and friend.

wreck of the Jane Seddon in Motueka
wreck of the Jane Seddon in Motueka

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.

Motueka wetlands
Motueka wetlands

Mot (familiar nickname) is also known as a hub for the Abel Tasman National Park, another haven I’d get to visit shortly.

Ruiwaka Resurgence near Motueka
Parkland surrounding the Ruiwaka Resurgence near Motueka

Takaka

And thence by bus to Takaka with wonderful scenic, although ear-popping swirl through bush, valley and dramatic glimpses of sea.

Up in the hills above Takaka
Up in the hills above Takaka – heading up to Anahata
from Anahata retreat veranda
from Anahata retreat veranda

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.

sheep near Anahata retreat
neighbouring sheep near Anahata retreat

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.

Golden Bay from above Anahata
Golden Bay from above Anahata
Tiny secret waterhole near Anahata retreat
Tiny secret (freezing) swimming hole near Anahata retreat

back to Nelson and back to Picton

There's even a view inside the bus between Nelson and Takaka
Inside the bus between Nelson and Takaka – when waiting for the lights to change at the narrow part of the road – note the Chrissie tinsel getting us into the spirit

The same 66 curves and the views looked even more dramatic from the other direction!

Twisty turns on the way to Takaka
Twisty turns between Takaka and Nelson

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.

Picton Railway Station, cute and efficient
Picton Railway Station, cute and efficient

4 thoughts on “Transport of delights through Aotearoa New Zealand Part II The South

    • 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!

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