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New Zealand Geography Expedition – Nelson

We began Wednesday 4th April with a morning of study, only breaking for quick games of pool. In the afternoon we drove 30 minutes to Fox glacier, similar to Franz Josef but a much better view of the snout possible. After the glacier we went for a walk around the shores of Lake Matheson, a lake created by a melting block of ice. On the walk views of both Mt Cook and Mt Tasman were possible. These views created a sense of intrigue, as we knew only 8 days before we were just the other side of the mountains. Once again, Mr Sykes excelled in the picture department with photos catching the reflection of the mountains.

The following day, we left Franz Josef and departed for our second 7 hour journey of the tour so far, and hopefully our last! On the way, we stopped off at a small town on the West coast called Hokatika. This gave us a chance to experience the beautiful New Zealand coastline for the first time. Great fun was had by all, with the students messing about on the beach and the adults going for a well deserved brew. Chris in particular enjoyed the 10 foot waves, and managed to soak himself in the process as one of the waves was considerably quicker than he was. Leaving Hokatika, we were in high spirits as Ms Bielby had mentioned the possibility of stopping off at “Pancake Rocks”. They proved to be as exciting as their name suggests, with layers of rock resembling a pile of pancakes. After the consumption of ice-cream and the occasional pie, we set off for Nelson, arriving at 5pm. What made Thursday special was the opportunity to catch up with the Drama group. We were lucky enough to watch their performance in the Nelson theatre, and exchange tales from our travels afterwards. Unfortunately, the night was cut short as we had to leave early for Abel Tasman National Park.

Friday was Good Friday and a perfect opportunity for us to visit New Zealand’s most popular national park. After an hour’s drive to the coast, we took a water taxi into the Abel Tasman National Park. Our driver, Darren, drove us around the many coves and bays in the park. He also took us past Split Apple Rock, which is a large spherical boulder that was split into 2 equal parts by a British cannonball in the 19th century. Finally, we reached our drop off point. We jumped off the 20 seater boat and wandered along the golden beaches that clung to the shoreline. This was also the scene of Andy’s heroics. With the ball kicked into the sea, and no other volunteers stepping forward, Andy dived into the sea to rescue the ball when all hope was gone. As we set off on our 3 hour walk, we headed inland slightly into the dense rain forest. Before long, we found ourselves clambering along a jungle path up steep slopes. Stopping off at plenty of jaw-dropping views along the way, we eventually reached Torrents Bay and set about demolishing our lunches, as well as walking out into the sea and playing yet more football. Soon after, we began to walk across the large expanse of beach that is left behind when the tide is out. With many of us choosing to do this bare footed, we soon regretted that decision as countless amount of shells dug into our helpless feet. The walk took us to Anchorage Bay, where half us played a spot of beach cricket, whilst the other half choose to go for a refreshing paddle in the Tasman Sea. After a good hour of fun, we hopped back onto the water taxi and began the 20 minute journey back to the buses. A highlight of the journey back was stopping off at Adele Island and viewing 3 baby seals on the rocks. Utterly Amazing!

Next stop North Island!

Sean and Oliver

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