New Zealand South: Nelson Lakes and Westport

NZ: Day 23

Nelson Lakes

We packed up, left Kaiteriteri behind and joined the new set of Kiwi Experience travellers in the morning. It was like starting over again- striving to form new bonds and alliances- but its pretty easy to make friends when everyone is in the same situation- far from home, travelling, open minded, willing to try new experiences and wanting to share moments.

Our new bus driver, Bods, was a complete nutter; ‘Aotearoa, Aotearoa, Aotearoa, this is the land of the long white cloud; T is for Awesome; Go Haaaard; Q is for Amazing;’ were but a few on a list of bizarre sayings.

He drove us down to Nelson lakes, where we had lunch. Great view, ice cold lake, but you’ve got to jump in!

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To Westport

We then drove back towards the coastline, meandering through some pretty incredible scenery along the way; Some of our Canadian compatriots pointed out that it was exactly like their homeland and it wouldn’t have seemed too out of place to see Salmon leaping from the waters and hunted down by Grizzly bears.

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Westport itself is a ghost town. Apart from the commercial supermarket the only other real point of reference was a wooden saloon type building that facilitated the local bar.
We were staying at Bazil’s hostel, $28, which, kooky and quirky as it was, was pretty cool and one of the better ones- I thought.
Westport is a surfers town- a real long-haired, dread-lock, hippy hang out- a little like Byron Bay- except super small. Not really keen on surfing, we just hung out on the hammocks at the hostel, cooked a pretty fab spaghetti bolognese, got fairly high of the continuous allure of weed that smothered the hostel and then mostly through boredom and partly through routine, started the drinking games.

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Although this bus had a lot more smaller groups- many of which were just as keen to avoid the shenanigans as take part- it did introduce us to some pretty awesome characters whom we would form affable bonds with throughout the journey; Will, Ben, Holly, Jemma, Sharni, Chloe. As a small group we decided to head to the only bar in town and sure enough made the most of a pretty nonchalant place.
In a way the drabness of Westport had enabled us to kindle new friendships, yet we were still pleased to be heading further South to Franz Josef in the morning!

Bazil’s Hostel: $28 / £14:  ***

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