Venturing North from Christchurch our journey took us through the Idyllic mountain resort town of Hanmer Springs. After spending a day relaxing in the town’s geothermal pools we pushed onwards to the Nelson region located on Northern Coast of New Zealand's South Island. Known for its excellent weather, wine production (predominantly brilliant Sauvignon Blancs), arts-focused community, and as a jumping off point for the famed Abel Tasman Trekking Track.   

We wasted little time in sampling the area's vineyards. Of particular note, Neudorf Vineyards produces an outstanding selection of white wines in a bucolic country setting. After a sun-washed day of wine tasting we ventured down to the artist enclave of Mapua and it’s recently renovated Wharf area. Located on the Tasman Bay,  the Mapua wharf is a perfect spot to shop local artisan goods or dive into some craft coffee or beer. The fish and chips from The Smokehouse were some of the best we had on the trip.

The following morning it was time to tackle the southern portion of Abel Tasman Track. This trek is arguably the most famous (and popular) of New Zealand's “Great Walks” and crosses through a variety of subtropical environments while offering stunning views of Tasman Bay, surrounding mountains and a lot of wildlife.  We grabbed a video of a weka bird building his nest. They are known as “give no f&cks ground chickens” and are one of New Zealand’s iconic large flightless birds that can often be confused with a kiwi.

The complete trek is approximately 60km and usually completed in 3-4 days. However, having completed the Routeburn Track earlier in the month we were feeling strong and light underfoot. So opposed to camping we chartered a water taxi for a beach landing at Bark Bay and completed an aggressive 24km (15 Mile) day Trek to the trails southern terminus at Marahau. Blessed with perfect weather conditions and minimal provisions we set out to push the limits of the Tasman Merino Tee and La Paz Cordura Nylon reinforced trekking shorts. Both Pieces allowed us to travel light and fast and we completed the trek in a touch under 5 hours. Fortunately, the well-situated Park Cafe provided access to a much needed local beer and wood-fired pizza.

Feeling physically and spiritually refueled from our time in this exquisite region we set our sites onto our next adventure to cross the Cook Strait to the North Island and New Zealand's Capital of Wellington. More of this to come...

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Justin Seale