I spent a week in December driving the 1,423km from Dunedin to Auckland with Chris, stopping in Wellington for this silly exam I had to sit. We did this very cheaply via a relocation rental - a lark I recommend to others who have lots of free, flexible time and not much money.
I wanted to find a place to camp near Picton which was fairly isolated, free (or very cheap) and involving a short walk. I researched like a maniac, like I always do, and once I had acquainted myself with every campsite in and around the Marlborough Sounds region (and, incidentally, not written my master's thesis), I found Davies Bay campsite, a '1 hour walk'* from the car park in adorable Anakiwa. Pictured above is my kitchen, and below - the results - couscous with mushroom, asparagus and lemon juice.
* Actually 25 minutes. Also, in Anakiwa there is a very nice coffee caravan, which looks like it must be amazing, but I am a townie at heart and only had electronic money (or 'imaginary tokens' as my dear friend Lemuel calls it). Bring cash!
Davies Bay was unfortunately hosting both a high school group and an outdoor adventure group (I find the latter more terrifying, to be honest). I watched the outdoor adventure group stand in the carpark in Anakiwa in a perfect circle, wearing all their gear, and spend roughly 45 minutes prepping (for a 25 minute walk) and discussing how they need to "stick together!" and "be careful!", and remembered fondly why I prefer to go into the wilderness by myself. I said to Chris, at some point during a long and bitter rant, that I felt that outdoor classes at school taught me everything that could go wrong in the outdoors, but not everything that could go right - and why tramping/ camping are actually very accessible, life-enriching things to do with your time on earth.
In any case, as groups tend to do they stuck together and we managed to find an area where we had only the mosquitos and two snooty Swans for company. NB: I have always felt that swans resemble, in appearance and temperament, old couples who detest the uncultured world around them, and 'love' each other forever - in the sense that they are each the only person the other can tolerate.
Tent light and morning light in Davies Bay above. The drive back to Picton took us on the Queen Charlotte Drive, which is an extremely scenic wind through stupidly beautiful hills and bays. The morning was spent at Governor's Bay (below), where a very large Sting Ray (!) swam around Chris. He yelled, I was too slow to see it, and we spent the rest of the morning swimming around looking for it, feeling mildly nervous and making uncouth jokes about Steve Irwin. Also, Chris is Australian.