Day 18 - Journey to Motueka Motueka is in many ways a gateway to Abel Tasman National Park, a side trip I decided to go on after hearing good things about it from other travellers. I made room for it by powering through places like Christchurch and Greymouth at more than a leisurely pace. To get there first I had to take a train from Kaikoura to Blenheim. (bottom right of map) After the train ride I was on a bus to Nelson, where we stopped for an hour. I used the opportunity to jump into the conveniently situated iSite and bombarded the girl working behind the counter with questions about Abel Tasman National Park, what sorts of things I could and/or should be doing there, if I could get inside the park that day, and so on. Turns out I couldn't get into the park that day - the closest I could get to was Motueka. Also turns out everything in Motueka would be closed by the time I got there, so if I wanted to book any activities in the park for the next day, I would have to do it right then and there, hopefully in time before my bus left. She went through my options twice I think: sea kayaking trips, hiking a part of the Abel Tasman Coastal Track, skydiving, mountain biking, surfing.. There were way too many options. In the end this is what I booked: - A bus ride early in the morning from Motueka to Kaiteriteri beach, just outside Abel Tasman National Park - A half-day sea kayaking trip in Abel Tasman - A stay at a hostel on Kaiteriteri beach for two nights - Exploration of the park via boat and a hike on a part of the Abel Tasman Coastal Track She called all these places, booked everything for me, printed everything, stamped all the receipts, faxed things, spelled out my name carefully multiple times, all with the knowledge that my bus was leaving soon.. under so much pressure and not a drop of sweat on her forehead. Cool as a cucumber. It was incredible. I grabbed my tickets, booking confirmations, and maps, ran outside and jumped back on my bus shortly before it took off for Motueka. Unfortunately there are no pictures from this day, as it was a bit of a transit day.. but it went well! I had my next two days figured out and had accommodation booked as well.