A jaunt of two extremes...

Trip Start Jan 02, 2013
Trip End Mar 23, 2013

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Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Thursday, January 10, 2013

Everyone, but everyone, you speak to who has "done" New Zealand tells you that you have to go to Abel Tasman as it's stunning. I got comments like "fantastic campervan site on the beach" to persuade me to visit. So what did we do? We booked in to do a two day hike from Marahau to Awaroa with an overnight camp at Bark Bay. A mere 20 kilometres on day one and only 8 on day two. At least we also booked a water taxi back from Awaroa to Marahau.

So we struck our lovely campsite at Old MacDonald's, parked the car at the water taxi office and picked up our bags and started. We had to carry everything we were going to need for our track so Neil had the tent, sleeping bags etc and I had the food and a case of red wine. Surprisingly, both bags were about the same weight, I would say close to 15kg. Oh, and did I forget to say, overnight it had started to rain. And it still was. It has to be said that Abel Tasman National Park is stunning - probably. We couldn't see further than maybe 500 metres because of the low cloud, sea mist, rain - call it what you will. And so it went on. It drizzled all morning and the views we got from this fantastic coastal footpath were, well, restricted!

But we were making good progress. Possibly because we saw no point in stopping to admire the views. So we decided that we would aim for lunch at Anchorage Bay. This would be over halfway and we could maybe stop awhile and let the rain ease prior to the shorter afternoon session. The final approach to Anchorage was not actually on the route to Bark Bay but was a "side track" and it was a very, very steep descent down to the bay. And when we got there, we found a dozen or so walkers huddled in a hut eating their sparce provisions sheltering from the westerley gale that was blowing off the sea. Though it was nice to get the 15kg off my back - and to have the prospect of it being a little lighter after eating some of it's content - it was not the most pleasant lunch break we've ever had!

The lunch break was short as there really was little point sitting there in our wet clothes so we cracked on. The climb out of Anchorage Bay was as steep as the decsent in had been - and remember that we didn't actually need to go to Anchorage, we could have bypassed it completely and stayed, presumably, on more level ground. But we again made good time and reached Bark Bay by about 4pm. And it was still bloody raining. It was horrible!!! I was freezing so we decided, though everyone else who had gathered there seemed to be sitting around in the kitchen area, to get our tent up so we could get dry. So we did, and we did. And we both lay down for a short doze. And when the warden woke us half an hour later to check our booking, the sun was shining and everyone else - who clearly knew it was brightening up - was out erecting their tents. And it was a nice evening. Neil got together with a bunch of guys who, between them, made a bit of a mountain out of starting a fire but when it was going, it was lovely to sit around late into the evening. The highlight of the evening - for some - was taking the mickey out of our "billy can" (which we had put on the fire to heat some water) which wasn't exactly a billy can, more a three litre top of the range stainless steel saucepan which we had bought for only 8 dollars! We have big appetites....

The following morning after a good night's sleep, we pitched camp in glorious sunshine and headed off towards Awaroa. But we had to take care with our timing as Neil had discovered the previous evening that we had a crossing of a creek to undertake that could only be done within two hours each side of low tide. And we had a taxi to catch. And low tide was a little late for us to do so. So we aimed to cross the creek three hours before low tide - not having a clue how deep this would mean it would be. And that's what we did.... And we had time for a swim before we caught our taxi back. And the sun continued to shine.

Now if you ever feel the need to catch a water taxi, can I suggest that you do so in Abel Tasman. It's the sort of experience you'd pay good money for.... This small boat (space for 12 passengers?) turned up and picked us up. The safety briefing comprised "Hold on to your hats guys. They have a habit of flying off". And he opened the throttle on his 225 HP Honda engine and he didn't close it until we reached the other end. All told, we had an hour or so of a very fast boat ride picking up and dropping off at some stunning beaches all along the coastline before he took us back to Marahau and literally drove straight onto a trailer in the water on the back of a tractor and took us up by road - still sitting in the boat with our lifejackets on - to the taxi office. A stylish end to our treck.

In conclusion, the two day adventure was great fun - though I wasn't thinking so after day one. The 28 kilometre route was, we think, nearer 34 kilometres. And no, I didn't really take a case of red. It was hard enough carrying the two dozen bottles of lager!!!
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Louise on

We were camped at Pohara,just west of you...wonder if you will do that stretch of road to Takaka...165 bends in 12 miles...in a campervan an experience! Loving your blog, think your trip is more energetic than ours though I am enjoying recalling the stunning scenery. Lx

Kate on

Oh wow! What stunning pics. I'd want to stay there for ever.

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