Wow!!! what a buzz and exciting journey was this trip which I had been planning for sometime. I initially set off on a famil to tour with French Pass Sea Safaris and the sailing ship “Steadfast” with my bike to check out the suitability of bringing clients to this area. I was not disappointed and was given a very warm welcome by all locals I met on the way.
The days were warm, sunny and very little wind which I was told rather unusual; so luck was on my side.
My first piece of action was an introduction to Laurence and Grace the proud owners of the ketch “Steadfast” which was built by Laurence over a 15 year period.Take a look at the photos and you shall see the work of a craftsman and attention to detail. Well we get on board have a brief chat and moments later the wind springs up so time to hoist the sails with Grace controlling the wheel. She sails beautifully and there is plenty of room on board to relax and enjoy nice organic lunch.
We cruise up to Catherine Cove where I’m to stay the night in one of the kiwi batches and met by Aaron who is the chef and owner of the Wilderness Lodge. He was originally the chef/owner of The Shed on the waterfront in Nelson. Once ashore I decide to explore this bay and tracks which leave the bay heading up hill towards Mt. Attempt.
My fitness levels are tested within minutes and soon pushing the mountain bike up hill but the scenery more than makes up for it. This would also make a great walking tour particularly for the lovers of flora and fauna. The sweet smell of Kaihua or New Zealand jasmine was magic, also flowering was Clematis paniculata and Metrosideros fulgens or climbing rata interspersed with manuka and broadleafs. Near the top I reached the Durville island road and took off northwards continuously distracted by birds, rocks, flora and views.
This area is one of the best in New Zealand to study the mineral belt and the effect it has on the vegetation. Soon I returned to Catherine Cove and enjoyed well earned rest and a Tui (beer)!!