February 27, 2009

Discovering Marlborough: Part Two

As we huddled under the covering at the office of the Cougar Line water taxis, we stood excited but worried what the weather was going to bring us. The lovely lady in the office promised us the heavy rain would clear up and that gorgeous New Zealand sunshine would shine. Being English you get used to bad weather but it’s not every day you get to go to a 5* retreat so you kind of just hope for some of the nice stuff.

Our boat was ready and the suitcase was loaded, we had arranged to have our car stored in secure parking for the duration. The people at Cougar Line said ‘some man’ will come and take it away, it was a bit worrying to say the least – paying a stranger to take our car away to who knows where, but being that there were no other options and we had a boat with our name on it, meant we had to just hand the key over and hope for the best.

Aboard our water taxi the rain subsided meaning we could sit on top deck, we waved a very wet and soggy Picton goodbye and headed off destination: Bay Of Many Coves Resort.

Along the way we stopped off at various places where other people on the boat were staying, there were some of the most amazing resorts along the Queen Charlotte Sound, and some amazing homes too that are only accessible by boat – imagine that as your weekend house!

As our resort came into view our mouths dropped open and we could hear people muttering the words ‘wow’ and ‘stunning’ as we trundled off the boat very pleased with ourselves. We were personally greeted by a member of the staff (which we later found out was the Manager) and we were escorted to our ‘room’. Our room was actually a wooden lodge on stilts which had been built into the side of the hill, the 5* of it all oozed from every pore. The view was just completely unbelievable – we were in heaven.

The day was still very overcast and dull but it managed to hold back with the rain meaning we could enjoy exploring the resort. We got to meet many members of staff that made you feel like family and as there were only 12 lodges on the resort everyone made a point of speaking to each other – it became very community orientated. Listening to tales of other travellers was so inspiring.

We headed for the pool – rain wasn’t going to stop us. It was a little cold being that it wasn’t heated but doing a few ‘canonballs’ to keep Bethany amused soon warmed us up (yes I did them too!). We ended our swimming fun with a soak in the cedar hot tub.

The next morning we awoke to sunshine! The sun peaking out from behind the clouds and lighting up the ocean was breath taking, being able to open up the bi-fold windows in our bedroom was an extra special luxury which created the most lovely atmosphere. I sat for quite some time reading my new favourite book and just chilling with the moment. The noise from the cicada’s was utterley deafening, never have I heard such a noise like that.

That morning we suited up and headed out on a kayak – the first time for me in a kayak. It’s always been something I have wanted to do as I love the ocean but somehow never did it. We went out in a two person kyak with Bethany sitting with me between my legs. All was fine to start with but as got further and further out I started to panic a little. I can swim and like I said have not worried being in the ocean, but not being able to paddle or move my legs because Bethany was restricting my movement and it did freak me out. Suddenly claustrophobia was on me and I sadly voiced my concerns meaning Bethany then developed an issue with it too. We did actually manage to work through it and the paddle round was awesome in the end – just next time I do it, I’ll be in my own kayak alone!

Later on in the afternoon we headed into the forest to do a loop track walk that took you past a waterfall. The walk was pretty easy going and our jandals (NZ word for flip flops) did us proud, although the terrain was really meant for trainers and a backpack!

Just as we arrived at the waterfall, 30 minutes into our walk Bethany sadly stopped right next to a wasp nest where she ended up with her very first wasp sting on her upper leg. Of course she cried but was actually a super soldier and battled on till be made it back to the lodge where we issued medical care. Bethany is known for her amazing immune system, being that she is never ill even when exposed to others that are, and within half and hour the sting was merely a little red speck.

More fun time was needed in the pool to compensate!

Just as we arrived back at our lodge and was getting ready to head down to the bar for a few drinks before dinner, I just so happened to glance out and see dolphins in the bay! Of course I was standing there in a towel and wet hair flowing so Michael and Bethany headed off to the jetty to go watch them a little closer. I said I would join them soon and so inbetween getting ready I kept checking through the provided binoculars to check on the action. The next thing I spot is a little boat with my husband and daughter in it!

Down in the bay everyone was out getting turns in the little boats which were kindly offered by the staff, people went out and swam with them and Michael even got to reach down and touch one as it glided under the boat – pure magic. The photos he took say it all.

That night we ate magnificently in the restaurant – very excited to be eating food prepared by award winning chefs. As the sun went down we watched the Dolphins continue their display, they were very happy to hang around and we were very happy to be part of it.

After an exquisite 3 course meal and a bottle of wine, we really should have known better than to head off into the bush in the dark – but that was what we did. One of the lovely staff offered to take us and another couple out to see some glow worms. I expected a little wander into the bush – not quite! A 20 minute walk over the roughest terrain, in the dark, with one torch between the three of us, whilst being tanked up on wine and food made for a good giggle at the usual NZ health and safety practices!! We did get to see the glow worms and I must admit the sight was just amazing – well worth the near death experience!

Our last day brought glum faces all round, two nights really was not enough time, we should have stayed longer. This resort is truly top class, despite the fact there were limited activities for children it worked in our favour, not only did you not have the usual noise created by lots of children but it meant a little imagination had to be used too. Bethany loved feeding the fish in the bay, she loved seeing Poppy the black Labrador, and she loved swimming in the pool. We also enjoyed the fact we could pop on a DVD for her and shut the ranch doors so we could sit out on the deck and soak up the atmosphere.

We met some lovely people too, an English family were there and they had children too. However it wasn’t the children Bethany was interested in – it was the man she described to me as ‘the man who reminds me of Grandad’. We have their contact details and intend to stay in touch – maybe one day we will meet again.

As we paced the jetty waiting for our water taxi to arrive we wondered if we could sneakily stay another night, but it wasn’t to be. We were booked to go to Nelson, that was the plan after all, so with a heavy heart we waved goodbye to the Bay Of Many Coves Resort, promising to see it again soon, and onwards to Nelson.
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