What a birthday Dominic had! It was February 28 and our first day on the South Island, the forecasts had been for heavy rain, so we treated ourselves to two nights in an AirBnB. Then a New Zealand miracle occurred: the day was overflowing with sunshine! Plus, we discovered our weekend home just happened to be at the start of the Queen Charlotte Track, one of the more celebrated hikes in New Zealand—nothing left to do but pull on our hiking boots and hit the trail.
We hiked the first six kilometers of the trail, winding through languid lagoons, following a gentle incline through thickets of fern trees, crown ferns, silver ferns...and I'm sure other kinds of ferns I have yet learned to identify.
Then the trail opened to fantastic views of the sounds. It was still the ocean, but the bays were such slender fingers, and the mountains so dense with foliage, it felt very lake-like.
We saw a few sailboats nestled within in coves and, yes, definitely felt some anchor envy.
Later in the afternoon, we strolled to the end of a nearby pier, went for a swim, and hung out—such an easy end to one of the more lovely days I can remember.
But wait, there's more: after dinner, our host, Marcel, took us on a walk to see glow worms and then out to the end of the very same pier. The phosphorescence gathers there in the dark and any disturbance in the surface of the water causes fireworks of shooting stars to ripple in the water. We were just tossing in stones, and then Marcel jumped in. He looked like he was making a snow angel in the water, pinwheeling his limbs with a thousand fireflies dazzling in his wake.