Nelson Lakes National Park

After spending some time recovering from our Abel Tasman hike and hiding out in the rain in Nelson, we decided more time in nature was calling and we heading for Nelson Lakes National Park. As we pulled in and biked to the waterfront the clouds parted, the sun came out, and the sand flies descended. Socks with sandals is not only acceptable, it is advisable in NLNP.

Since it had been a week since we backpacked we decided another overnight was in order and packed our backpacks for Lakehead Hut. Still recovering from the ankle injury and the sore legs from the Able Tasman, this easy 2 – 3 hour easy trek was just what we needed to get our legs moving. The 630m gain is a mellow gain through old growth forest and is entirely next to the lake. Low risk yet big views and big reward, and we had the trail and hut practically to ourself.

We passed by an awesome jetty out on the lake about 10 minutes before the hut, and thought it looked like the perfect place to cool off after our hike. Once we settled into the hut, we decided to scope out the shoreline to see if there was an even better spot to play in the water. After sinking into swamp water, crossing a few freezing rivers, realizing that the shoreline was more swamp than beach, and returning back to the hut an hour and a half later, only to head back to the easy jetty, we finally managed to go for a dip. And I mean… just a dip. As you can tell from my video below, it was refreshing but freezing and eventually the sand flies made us retreat back to the hut.

Feeling refreshed from our swim, we made some dinner, poured a glass of wine, and got the mini chess board out. Courtesy of a Christmas popper from our friends Abigail and Archie back in the UK. It has come in handy entertaining ourselves in the backcountry, but as Oli is teaching me as we play, I have yet to win a game. Though I have made him take every single one of my pieces before surrendering my king, so made him really work for it, stole most of his pieces, and went down swinging. So basically a win in my book. We watched the sunset over the hills and tucked in for a peaceful night of reading and an early sleep to catch our water taxi early the next morning.