Home Far Away From Home In The Marlborough Sounds
Of course lots of hostels make this slogan part of their promotion, but here at the Hopewell it is a fact. There is no better place to spend a rainy day on a comfy coach in front of a wood fired stove with a well-groomed cat curled up in your lap. We came here to experience what it is like to stay in the very BBH hostel that had received the best rating in the year 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006 and 2007, a mere 97 to 98%, year permitting.
So we travelled the windy road along the shores of Kenepuro Sound, one of the many sounds within the maze of giant Marlborough Sounds with a total of 1.400km of coastline. Apart from the usual activities like hiking, kayaking, fishing, here is a very new one is added: collect mussels and oysters on the beach and have them for dinner! A delight, especially knowing the prices for oysters in Europe…
During our three days here, we joined forced with Erez & Ora from Israel and Henni & Adam from Germany, who also only met each other a few days earlier. While the ladies explored the waters in their kayaks, the lads went fishing. They were eaten by sand flies, their boat drifted far off, since their chosen fishing spot was too deep to anchor, but they did not give in until they arrived home with enough fish to feed us all. While the men were at sea, Henni, Ora and Heidi soaked in the hot tub searching the horizon for their ambitious fishermen!
Later that evening, Heidi collected mussels and oysters to be cooked for dinner, also the guys brought some back, tiny ones, again. Energetically we turned to preparing the meal, but when the first spiders, worms and crabs appeared from between the mussels our enthusiasm faded quickly. On top of that, the owner of the hostel provided a huge bowl of really nicely cooked big mussels and we decided to return two of our three buckets to the ocean. Nevertheless Gilles opened his two dozens of oysters and devoured them with great pleasure, while the rest of us frankly could not quite see what was so great about swallowing slimy, salty little animals. Luckily, Gilles did not hurt himself opening them. Actually, he even taught guests from Malaysia, who wanted to go about this business using a hammer!
Of course we did a few short hikes, but mainly we spent our days and evenings in the super comfy communal area looking out onto the bay reading or working on our laptop. During those three evenings, we shared dinner with people from Holland, Germany, Taiwan, Malaysia, Japan, New Zealand, Israel, Great Britain & Canada, who all came here for one reason: to enjoy the serene atmosphere of this hostel. More active minded people could of course walk the four day Queen Charlotte Track, which passed not to far from here.