Monday, February 22, 2010

Making my winding way back North

Hello all! Greetings from Nelson, where I am comfortably ensconced back at Betty's, the llama lady I stayed with way back in October and November. We've just wound down from an all-felting, all-the-time weekend up in a little place called Teapot Valley, and I finally found the chance to talk about my trip from the bottom of the South Island to the top, and then my time at my latest farm, a wonderful place called Fleecewood. So here we go!

I decided this time that, since I'd already traveled the East Coast of the South Island, it would be good to head up the West Coast to get back to Nelson. This is the least populated and most forested area of New Zealand, and so the twenty-two plus hours I spent on buses (spread over three days, thank goodness) was mostly shrouded in lush, tall greenery, with occasional glimpses like this:

and stops to see things like this:

Which, for the life of me, I can't remember the name of. I don't know if you've noticed so far, but I'm a pretty bad tourist. I tend to wander off the beaten path, both literally and figuratively, and instead of dutifully reading the info sign about the waterfall or trying to capture its enormity on camera with everyone else, I end up crouched in the bushes on a deer path, getting bitten ferociously by mosquitoes and taking pictures of random bits of river that had an interesting play on color and shadow and light.

So I'll be absolutely no help when you try and plan your own trip to New Zealand ("You need to go see that thing! In the place! With the other thing!"), but darnit if I don't have good adventures along the way.

One of the other places we stopped was the Pancake Rocks, about a kilometer of unusual rock formations on the coast.

One of the other cool things about this area was that the entire pathway around the Pancake Rocks is surrounded by harakeke, or New Zealand native flax.

I've so far been too intimidated by the native bush conservation efforts to filch a leaf off of this to process for spinning, but I might work up the courage soon. Harakeke is used a lot in Maori weaving, but it's used in strips about an inch wide, whereas I want to see if it will strip down and ret into linen. Stay tuned!

Okay, this is getting rather long, so I'd better split this into two blog posts. Stick around for what happened when I finally got off the bus and made it to Fleecewood, the next stop on my WWOOFing tour!


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