Returning to the Land of the Long White Cloud, Aoteoroa

In the Land of the Long White Cloud

Pewter and moody blue paint the landscape

With the sea a splash of aquamarine

Greeting our arrival

Today, in Nelson, the sea continues to be a beautiful aquamarine. Large clouds, hopefully with rain, are skirting the ranges towards the north, a breeze dances the trees and the sun continues to shine. Nelson, New Zealand is on water restrictions and is desperate for rain. Wherever green should be in the landscape, there is yellow-brown. Plants in gardens, usually hardy, are curling their leaves. Today it is only 22 degrees but humidity is high and it feels very warm. Temperatures in NZ are deceptive, so too, is the intensity of the sun, which today is fierce. Despite the intensity of the weather, our plans for walking Te Araroa South Island are ago.

Completing Te Araroa North Island, 1700km from Cape Reinga to Wellington on John’s 66th birthday on 26 March 2017, was a walk of triumph for us. Te Araroa is “The Long Pathway”, New Zealand’s long distance tramping route, stretching 3000km along the length of the North & South Islands. Unlike the countless through walkers completing both islands in one very long walk, we have chosen to continue our TA trail by walking the South Island in stages. Our plan this trip, is to walk from Ships Cove in the Marlborough Sounds to Arthur’s Pass, approximately 450kms with Ships Cove being the starting point of TA South Island.

We are somewhat perplexed that our preparation and lead up to this point has been complicated by a myriad of little challenges. John, after successfully completing his 70.3 Ironman event in Geelong in Victoria on Sunday, discovered that the piece of glass in his foot was in fact about 9 splinters; compliments of a sea urchin that he had inadvertently trodden on, after his pre-warm up swim. Minor surgery performed by John & Nancy to dig the blighters out over successive days, a visit to the doctors for antibiotics, should they be needed, slathering said area on foot in a cream designed to assist in removal of splinters, has hopefully sorted that issue.

John competing in the Geelong Ironman Event Sunday 17 Feb 2019
Our Melbourne family cheer squad David Melanie, James, Eve & Tessa
Eve & Tessa giving Wilkie a running boost near the finish line in the Geeling 70.3 Ironman

Nancy, meanwhile has jaw issues. Not needed for walking but an aching free jaw is needed for eating. Meditation, ibuprophen, exercise (and red wine🤪) to ease tension in the jaw, muscles above and around the jaw, neck and shoulders, is helping. Before leaving Perth, physio sessions gave tension-releasing, a head start…excuse the pun! Then hives decided to pay a visit. Insect bites, ibuprofen…not sure of the cause but both can cause a hives outbreak. The rash is thankfully settling down, with a little help from antihistamine.

Enough on the health front as more serious situations have been building to cause issue with our TA plans. Recent fire in Wakefield (near Nelson) causing evacuations for local residents for a few days, continues to burn underground. Meanwhile, on the other end of the high fire danger spectrum, Tropical Cyclone Oma tracking Queensland coast and on a possible course to NZ has caused havoc with the longer range NZ weather forecasting. Now it would seem that projected heavy rainfall appears to be but a dream for Nelson. With high fire risks in the Nelson district continuing, water shortages at some huts, closure of tracks and access roads because of the high fire danger, we have had to consider alternative plans. However, as said earlier, our TA plans are ago. We are not sure how far our walk will traverse but we commence walking from Ships Cove in the Marlborough Sounds on Monday, on the Queen Charlotte Track. After reaching Pelorus 107km (5 nights on the trail), we will return to Nelson for restock and re-evaluation of the track conditions, road closures and the weather.

Our friends Dave & Kerry from Taranaki are walking Queen Charlotte Track with us. Hopefully, the rain that is falling in the Marlborough area today and tomorrow, will allow the re-opening of part of the track on the Queen Charlotte that has been closed because of high fire risks (it’s walking the road otherwise). We are glamping this TA Queen Charlotte trail section. Lodge accommodation, ‘proper’ food and beverages and we might only carry a day pack weight as the bulk of our TA luggage might join Dave & Kerry’s which is being daily ferried to the next night’s accommodation. Even more hopefully; the projected bad weather over the Cook Strait will not delay Dave & Kerry arriving by ferry, into Picton tomorrow.

Perplexed we may be by jaw & feet issues, high fire risks and track closures we must turn to the positive. Life is for the making; as John says, “We’ll suck it and see”. Meanwhile, in sunny Nelson, it’s been a joy catching up with family and some very special friends, spending time staying with John & Linda who have made their home, ours. Sitting atop of one of Nelson’s many high hills affords John & Linda’s home a beautiful outlook from many windows. As I type, the distant sea continues aquamarine, the hills yellow, the trees and breeze still dance, but the clouds with the promise of rain, are slipping over the other side of the ranges. We hope the Land of the Long White Cloud delivers rain to Nelson soon.

Amazing for Sharon & Nancy to be visiting their home town of Nelson at the same time, albeit briefly. With their favourite men, Alan & John
Night out with John & Linda at The Anchor, Port Nelson
Spectacular sunset last night as we ate dinner at The Anchor Restaurant Port Nelson.

45 thoughts on “Returning to the Land of the Long White Cloud, Aoteoroa

  1. Hi Nancy and John. Good to hear you are still on track to commence your trek. Hopefully the first few days have gone well for you both – ailments aside. Well done for persevering…..very gutsy! Looking forward to following your travels. Take care. Kevin and Pam xx


  2. Awesome blog Nancy. Hope we get to catch up while you are back in NZ. All the very best for the walk. Take care and here’s hoping John’s foot gets better and your jaw improves. Xx


  3. Hi John and Nancy
    Loving the way you guys do life – family, adventure, creativity, passion, friends, challenge, travel… enjoy!
    Cheers, James


  4. I hope those pesky health issues have all cleared up and you have had an enjoyable time on the first ‘leg’. Love to you both xx


  5. Hi Nancy and John 🙂
    Myriam, Matthew and me we are so happy to hear from you. Is so good to see that everything is going excellent in this new journey.


  6. Wow, that sunset shot!! Well done Dad on the ironman. We are very proud of you. Hope you were thinking of me during the run leg and knowing what I would be telling you 🙂
    Good luck for the start of the trek and stay safe! Love you both xxx


  7. Hi Nancy and John
    Love your blogs, feel I’m there with you. Hope the health issues sort themselves out and you get some rain at some point. Enjoy yourselves as I know you will. Take care.
    Love the weavers x


  8. Hi Nancy and John, love reading your posts, so well written I feel I’m there with you.
    Safe travels and best wishes on your walk. Love Verity


  9. Had a brief readable will,finish later. hope the foot, jaw and weather problems resolve themselves.
    Looking forward to,following your adventure


  10. was wondering about you folks because we have been monitoring the Wakefield/Nelson fires. We have friends at Falcon Ridge where the fire came close, but now under control. Wishing you rain and improved health issues NOW!


  11. Nancy, thinking of you and John and wishing you all the best for the walk. We currently in Taupo on way to Auckland to be with Jo as Finn having 3rd heart ablation on his heart on Tuesday. They are certain they can fix the problem this time as he now 18,6ft4 and strong young man. Let’s hope so. Our house is just great and we look forward to sharing photos with you soon. Just love it. Going to Aladdin tomorrow night.
    Take care and God bless. Love your stories. Well done.xxxxxxxxx


    1. Hello Judy & John, so sorry to hear Finn is having more heart issues. We will pray for the best of outcomes for the ablation procedure on Tuesday. Safe travels to you meantime. So happy you are enjoying your ‘new’ home. Looking forward to your photos. God bless


    2. Hello Judy, so sorry to hear Finn has heart problems again. Will pray for excellent hear ablation outcome on Tuesday. Safe travels to you both meanwhile. Looking forward to photos of your house. Enjoy Aladdin. Xx and God bless


  12. Hi John & Nancy; have been wondering if you had indeed made it to our shores. Sorry you had a bit of a mis-step getting here. Will be following your journey, as always, and sending love. Jan


    1. Well done Wilkie on your half Ironman
      May you both enjoy you travels full off sunsets and catching up with family and friends
      Xx Nick, Vikki and the kids


  13. Thank you for your interesting update on your travels. Hope the initial teething problems are soon behind you and you can enjoy your planned hike.

    Bye Sylviax


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