My crossed fingers didn’t work; the morning dawned just as grey as yesterday’s evening. “Bother!”, said Pooh, crossly.
We’re at this campsite for two nights to give us time to say hello to an old acquaintance from Australia 16 years ago. It’s our first independent, non Top 10 campsite. It comes with free wi-fi but only a paltry 50Mb a day. Francine’s phone is set to automatically upload its phone camera pictures to Dropbox. Mess with photos and 50Mb don’t last long. Sure enough, our connectivity was soon cut. Top 10 sites give us 500Mb. Enough said.
There is a reportedly excellent walk here which requires a ticket on a coastal boat. The boat drops you off further up the coast (not accessible by vehicles), in the Abel Tasman National Park, and you walk back choosing one of a couple of possible distances to suit your abilities, to be picked up by the boat again at an appointed time. Our UK neighbours did it when they toured New Zealand a few years ago and loved it.
Under threatening grey skies we ummed and ahhed. The weather really didn’t look the greatest though I must admit that the temperature was about right – we certainly wouldn’t overheat. Our consensus of opinion was that we’d likely spend NZ$130 on conditions not right for sightseeing. There were walks from the campsite that would get us the exercise our legs craved.
Walk #1 was a circuit around the lagoon. It began less than scintillatingly along a road. When we cut into some woodland, however, things got much more interesting. Francine spotted a diminutive white flower that was clearly an orchid, even to my untrained eyes. There was a small cluster of them and we both clicked away happily. The bloom on these little guys are no more than a centimetre wide and they stand 7-8cms tall. We have no idea what it is and with no Internet connection worth a damn …
The walk had an optional side circuit which we took. On the uphill section of the circuit Francine spotted another of the Greenhood Orchids which, given its somewhat different size and shape, could well be a different species from our previous encounters.
On the downhill section of our loop, Francine spotted another diminutive white orchid, a similar size too our first, which is what I immediately assumed it to be. No, on closer inspection this one does look different. I had a very happy camper on my hands.
After lunching on the remaining smoked and marinated green lipped mussels from yesterday, we tried to find a second walk. We began well enough, following a pre-printed map, but soon descended into confusion as development seemed to have altered the roads and landscape somewhat. The good thing is that Francine has found yet another plant which she is convinced is another orchid.
The middle of the day brightened for lunch but it was regrettably short-lived. The afternoon skies returned to their irritating solid grey colour. The one ingredient that is indispensible for landscape photography is light and light seems to have been dispensed with.
The orchid tally is doing well, even if the landscape tally isn’t.