We could not find a decent cup of drip coffee to save our lives in Australia or New Zealand. Down under, they are all about the ‘long black’ or the ‘flat white’ or any other variety of fancy espresso based coffee, non of which really satisfied my need for a basic morning cup of black sludge. That said, they really have perfected the art of the fancy coffee, as evidenced by the multitude of patterns you are sure to discover in your milk foam at any decent coffee shop. We particularly liked this one, the New Zealand silver fern.
When Justin and I were living in NYC we spent many a Saturday afternoon sucking down gin martinis and eating mussels at a little restaurant just around the corner from our apartment. Unfortunately, mussels aren’t usually in our backpacker budget, so we were thrilled to be passing through Havelock, New Zealand (the green lipped mussel capital of the world!) where mussels are a dime a dozen. Ok, so not really a dime a dozen, but about $3.50 per kilo. That’s $3.5 for more than two pounds of mussels. Big ones. Fresh ones. Delicious ones.
We wasted no time hitting up the local vendors and were steaming up a massive batch for dinner at our campsite. We may have done this for three nights in a row. It was amazing.
The Abel Tasman trek is one of the easiest ‘Great Walks’ in New Zealand. Most people take 3-5 days to hike the whole thing and camp, or sleep in Dept. of Conservation huts along the way. We didn’t have the time, or the gear for an overnight trek, but we really wanted to spend some time walking in the park. It’s possible to take a water taxi to many points along the track, and walk in either direction. We opted to head to Bark Bay, which is halfway out. We walked the whole way back to town, normally a two day walk if you are camping, but without the gear it’s totally possible in one day. We saw some spectacular coast, and it was well worth the absurd cost of the water taxi, even though we did get rained on for the last 12 kilometers.
We are fortunate enough to be tramping around New Zealand in early summer when there are flowers blooming everywhere. These are super tiny, each flower is about 1/3 the size of my pinky fingernail, but there were so many of them where we were walking this morning that the meadow looked almost like it had a light dusting of snow.
We spent a few nights before the New Year camping at different sites along the road to Milford Sound on the South Island of New Zealand. It was stunning. I think we got supremely lucky with the weather because this area is one of the wettest places in the world and our first three days were full of nothing but summer sun, gorgeous blue skies and sunsets like this.