Thursday, November 25, 2010

Abel Tasman National Park, NZ A Photo Album

Sometimes everything goes our way. After a day of dodging rain showers, we dropped into the rich valley where Nelson is located. A tailwind pushed us like a helping hand into town. Our goal was the home of Angela, the daughter of our friends Terry and Christine of Lower Hutt. Hospitality and generosity are inherited, it seems.

With a place to store our bikes for a few days, we switched travel mode from cycling to tramping. Our goal was to do the Abel Tasman Coastal Track, one of the "Great Walks", a hike of four days, three nights and 54 kilometers.  We loaded up the minimalist backpacks and were dropped off at the southern trailhead in the early morning (thanks, Angela!).

The tide was out and not a soul in sight as we began our tramp.

The track alternates between walking along the water to routes through dense forest with occasional views of golden beaches below.

The sands in this area a a rich golden color, a result of iron oxide staining the quartz grains.

Our first campsite at Te Pukatea Bay was steps away from the water.

The rainforest can be deep and dark. obscuring the view to the ocean that may only be a few meters away.

We certainly were not alone on this trek.  One of the great things about the Kiwi educational system are opportunities for school trips to beautiful places all over the country.  Generally these  trips happen at the end of the school year, which is the end of November, which happens to be about now.  So on the trail we often passed groups of students of all ages in various stages of weariness and perspiration.

Also, many visitors to the park are dropped off by water taxi at one bay and day hike to another pick up point, or access campsites by kayak.  One of the more popular sections crosses over a swing bridge, and we encountered several foreign tourist tour groups.  The foreigners are easily recognized, because when we pass them traveling in opposite directions, they stay to the right side of the trail.  The Kiwis stay on they left, just like when driving a car.  And the Germans march together in an orderly line, evenly spaced, no stragglers.

Swing bridge river crossing along the way.

Beautiful streams empty into the ocean from the highlands.

Ho hum, another gorgeous golden beach.

The track is fully within the Abel Tasman National Park, and campsites are only allowed at designated locations and require reservations.  Many visitors stay in the huts, which have bunks and a wood stove and common area for cooking and sitting.  Nearby are the campsites, and since this hike was one of the Great Walks, the facilities are also quite nice.

Cooking shelters and flush toilets and filtered water are available for even us tenters.

Our campsite locations were controlled partially by the tides, since the track crosses estuaries that are flooded at high tide.  We were up before the dawn on the third day to cross Awaroa Bay.

Crossing the estuary barefoot through icy water.

The estuary is quite shallow, so large expanses of sand are exposed at low tide.

Shells left behind by the tide.

The last segment of our tramp was after the last water taxi pickup, so it was less traveled and we had it nearly to ourselves. 

Rock and water.

Tree ferns dominate the forest.

Gossip time at Separation Point.

Fur seals also frequent Separation Point, the northernmost point along the hike.

Whariwharangi Hut at our last campsite is a restored homestead from 1896.

Descending to Wainui Bay at low tide, where we will meet the shuttle bus to take us back and reunite us with our bikes.

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Monica said...

Stunning photos!

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All original text and photos are copyrighted Doris Reilly © 2006-2018. No part of the content or the blog may be reproduced without prior written permission.
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