So, just to catch you up, we'd flown in (albeit, after a lot of stress), wandered Christchurch, taken an incredibly scenic drive to Kaikoura, and gone wine- and beer-tasting in Marlborough. And, remember, we now had George, an adorable little stuffed bear, along for the ride.
Day 3: Marlborough --> Marahau
We arrived into Marahau in the middle of the afternoon with plans to go horseback riding up into the lush valley. We met our Kiwi horseman and off we went.
Our horses didn't like each other so we couldn't stand too close together.
Finally, we made it to our accommodations, the Ocean View Chalets.
George on our balcony
Day 4 --> Mountain Biking in Abel Tasman State Park, then to Nelson
In the morning, we woke up and connected with Anna and Reg, the husband-and-wife team who owns Abel Tasman Mountain Biking. They drove us up into Abel Tasman State Park in a huge, four-wheel-drive vehicle (equipped with snorkel for driving through flooded roads) and dropped us off in a grassy field with a guide. We'd signed up for their Full Dirt trip, which included five hours of biking through some of the most stunning landscape I've ever seen.
Yep, that's us coming down the hill. Note: There was a professional photographer on the trip. All mountain-biking photos by Ian Trafford.
Biking in a marble quarry. Amazing.
We left Marahau muddy. Although we were only on our way to our next accommodation in
Nelson, we decided to make a stop at an olive grove to taste some New Zealand olive oil. When we got engaged in Italy, tasting olive oil was one of our favorite memories, so we wanted to compare.
After making a quick purchase, we made it to Nelson, about an hour from Marahau. We checked into our next place, The Wheelhouse Inn. I loved this place because it had such a cute story. The couple who owns it is American. They sailed away from Long Beach, California, 30 years ago and planned to go around the world. Their anchor got stuck in Nelson so they've been there ever since. Their property is made up of about five self-catering apartments.
The Wheelhouse Inn: Our Quarters
The view from our living room
Next up, we head down the West Coast of the South Island, a road less-traveled by tourists. What did we find? Some of the most beautiful places to pull over for lunch, like the one below.
Our rental car