Mapua Holiday Week

We ended up in Mapua a bit accidentally.  Originally, we were planning a stop in Nelson, a town thirty minutes from Mapua, but found this amazing house right on the beach.  We just couldn’t pass it up and I’m so glad we didn’t!  After leaving Hokitika, it was such a treat to spend a week on the beach. The beach cottage was located down a long, winding gravel road, tucked among tall grass and trees.  Again we found ourselves with a three-bedroom home but with a three bed room so kids all cuddled in together.  The house had a small pool and a gorgeous back deck, but the best part was the sliding glass doors that opened on both sides of the house.  It truly felt like we were living outside the entire time. 

We kept questioning if there was any way we could replicate this type of space at home, although it was made even more enchanting by the fact that we were mere steps away from the sea.

Mapua treasures

Just out the back sliding glass door was a dirt path that led into the small wharf of Mapua.  Giant boulders stacked about twenty feet high that led down to the water line.  At high tide the water lapped against the boulders and at low tide 300 meters of sand was exposed with small tide pools for the kids to explore.  It was a dream setting for a week of exploring the northern part of the South Island.   

Observing the major tidal change

Our first full day, James found us bike rentals to take on the Great Taste Trail.  It is a 21 mile trek that goes along the coastline, by the town of Tasman, and back through a golf course.  The headwind at the midpoint was intense, when we rode out on the Kina peninsula.  But it was surreal riding along the sea in an area that was pure, majestic beauty.  We didn’t see a soul on the peninsula and just enjoyed the steady sound of the road and the wind in our faces.  Surprisingly, the ride through the golf course was the toughest part with high winds and a long uphill climb.  We had a picnic lunch along the shoreline and when we returned to Mapua, we ate some well-earned gelato.

We spent a couple of days catching up on homeschool and exploring the sea shore.  There were so many treasures, from jade to sand dollars and it was simply thrilling to watch the tide change.  James and Goose made homemade gingerbread cookies to help us get in the Christmas spirit and the kids all worked together to decorate them with a sugary glaze.  One of the joys of this year has been slowing down time, something hard to do in regular life.  But this was one of the times in Mapua, where we could enjoy relish some of the simpler things in life.

James and Goose making Christmas cookies in Mapua

Goose and James baking gingerbread cookies

Our other big adventure while in Mapua was exploring Abel Tasman National Park.  It’s the most visited park in New Zealand and is only accessible by two entry points via the road.  Otherwise, you have to hike or boat in to access it.  We opted to boat in and took an early ferry with Abel Tasman Water Taxis from Kaiteriteri to Anchorage (NZ!).  That dropped us on the beach in Anchorage and then we walked eight miles on the Abel Tasman Coastal Track

Hiking in Abel Tasman

It was a stunning, rolling hike through forest and along the water front.  There were several beach areas to take a rest and we stopped at Apple Tree Bay for a picnic lunch and to enjoy all the cookies James and Goose had baked the day before.  They hit the spot!

Lunch break at Apple Tree Bay

We successfully completed the hike and everyone finished in great spirits!

Eight mile hike complete!

That evening Manji, Bingo and I went to the main wharf where they were having community Christmas carols.  Carolers and band members joined together with the rest of the community to tell the story of Jesus’ birth and lead everyone in festive music.  It felt amazing to feel part of a community even if just for a few hours.  I told Goose when we returned that his haircut is right on trend with other New Zealanders.  I’ve never seen so many mullets in one place!

The kids chillin at Mapua wharf

At the Mapua Wharf

Our time in Mapua came to an end, but we literally enjoyed every second of our outdoor living for the week.  It’s something we hope to replicate when we return home!

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