Argh, our feet hurt!!!
Trip Start Feb 28, 2009
27Trip End Apr 12, 2009
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We booked a water taxi (guess what that does :P) to take us into the Abel Tasman National Park and drop us off on the beach at Bark Bay. The water taxis go up and down the coast in the national park there and we initially took it all the way to its end point and back just to enjoy the surroundings as seen from a boat. This gave us the added benefit of seeing a few cool features that can only be seen from the water, namely Split Apple Rock as well as a nearby seal colony.
The whole process of the water taxi is rather amusing as you actually board it on dry land while it is in its cradle behind a heavy duty tractor. It then drives to the boatramp and you gently slide backwards into the water. After a quick 180 degree turn, you're off on the wild blue yonder
Disembarking is equally amusing really as the boat just heads for the shore and on the last stretch does another 180 degree turn and backs up gently until you can hop out of the boat at the rear and wade through 40cm deep water onto the beach.
After all of this our true endeavour began... And what an endeavour it turned out to be... *phew*
Let us warn anyone going to New Zealand of a small feature in the country here: The in-ability to accurate assess how long a walk will take... (Either that or everyone else here is a potential contestant for the Iron Man Challenge.) It is a minor gripe, but be warned whenever a sign claims a walk will take 2 hours that you might well need closer to 3 hours for it. Especially if you are also taking pictures and having breaks to catch your breath along the way :P
The Abel Tasman National Park has one 4-day long walk that is quite popular with the more healthy and energetic crowd. But thankfully the also offer the option to get dropped off along the route and picked up further down the route again. Guess what we opted for ;)
The path/route that we took was very cozy, being so surrounded by a jungle on all sides, and it did take us slightly more than the indicated time, BUT as you can see, we took MANY pictures this day
We had the option of being picked up in two different places and (strangely enough) chose for the further away one, which required us to cross a stretch of beach that is only accessible at low tide. The reason that we did this was because the taxi/guide CLAIMED it would only take 20 minutes to go from one to the other..... What he had failed to mention was that, if you wanted to keep your shoes and socks dry, you'd have to take your shoes off for parts of this stretch and that the shells left behind here after the tide went out were VERY sharp... OUCH!!!
It took us closer to 45 minutes to walk the rumoured 20 minute walk. Although we're quite sure that we could have done it in 30 minutes if we weren't exhausted and sore from the previous 4 hours of walking (through jungle, over hills and on non-asphalted walkways!).
After getting our feet wet once more getting back into the water taxi, we arrived exhausted and sore at our bed and collapsed for the evening... We might have gone out for food, but we can't remember through the haze of exhaustion :P
The following day we wanted to recover, but not spend the ENTIRE day in bed. So we went for a drive around the region to see some more from the comfort of our air-conditioned car.
We drove over the nearby hills to the Waikoropupu Springs and braved the 10 minute walk from the carpark to the actual springs. Since the water there is from a natural spring it is amazingly clear and you can see everything that grows on the bottom of the little lake. It was a shame that the sun was causing such a glare on the water surface, as that makes picture-taking rather tricky.
On our way back (to recover more in bed and prepare for our onwards journey the next day) we swung by Hawke's Lookout and this time braved a 400 meter walk to get the massive panoramic view that was available there. Martijn might look rested in the picture, but that is a very cleverly constructed illusion done with mirrors and smoke.