Sunday, March 30, 2008

March 17, 2008 - Marlborough Sounds, South Island

At the end of a long, dusty, winding road, sits the top rated backpacker accommodation in New Zealand, which we saved for the last stop of our tour around the South Island. The three days that we have spent at Hopewell on the Kenepuru Sound have been utterly relaxing. Before we got here we had all these plans to go hiking, fishing and kayaking, but mostly we have just hung out, done laundry, read, planned the rest of our trip, and enjoyed the atmosphere. One morning Sten treated me to breakfast on the patio of our cabin, overlooking the sound. We took advantage of the close proximity of oyster beds that were revealed at low tide and collected oysters for lunch and dinner. Although the Pacific Oyster isn't as prized as Bluff Oysters, we preferred them because they were so fresh.

The Marlborough Sounds are filled with mussel farms. On our second day here, we went with the owner's brother to a nearby mussel farm to collect green-lipped mussels for a group dinner that night. The boat trip out to the farm gave us a chance to check out the Sound. This is only the second place (the first was the Banks Peninsula) we've seen on the South Island that we would actually want to spend some time cruising on our boat. Back at Hopewell, we and about 20 others grabbed our wine and a seat and waited for the first batch of mussels to hit the newspaper covered picnic table. Both of the resident cats knew what was coming, and claimed the end of a picnic bench for themselves. They were clearly no strangers to mussel night!
On our third day here Sten borrowed some tools and a length of wire from Mike, the owner, to fix the cigarette lighter in the car so that we could finally recharge the computer. Mike just installed (relatively) highspeed wireless internet, so we spent some time updating the blog. Even after a marathon session of uploading pictures and text we're still woefully behind.

The days here just seemed to slip away, but we both feel refreshed and ready for the rest of the trip - or at least the drive back to Picton along that long, dusty, winding road and the ferry trip back to the North Island.
The last thing you want to see (or smell!) as you drive onto the vehicle deck of the ferry.

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