Having completed our underground adventure, we emerged unscathed and continued on our way south to
Wellington spending a night in Ohakune en route. This is typical of the views from the road heading south.
I think this is looking into the Tararua Range from SH1 near Levin.
We boarded the
ferry in Wellington mid afternoon for our journey across the Cook Strait to the South
Island. Dusk on Marlborough Sound was quite stunning as we neared Picton.
Steep forested islands dotted the sea and our ferry meandered its way between them.
As we neared Picton, the sun started to set behind us ...
... and the views were quite spectacular.
The following day we drove to Marahau at the entrance to
Abel Tasman National Park
at the northern tip of the South Island. We planned to walk the
Abel Tasman Coastal Track,
one of New Zealand's famous Great Walks. To enable us to get to the far end of the track (and therefore walk
back), we arranged a ride up the coast on a water taxi from
Marahau Beach Camp. Hut bookings for the
walk and the water taxi were booked through the
i-SITE visitor centre in Motueka
before setting out. There are many private information centres throughout New Zealand, most offering an
excellent service. The i-SITE offices are part of the
Visitor Information Network
which is affiliated to the New Zealand Tourist Board.
Our coastal journey took us past Tonga Island ...
... and its seal colony.
We were dropped off at the far end of Totaranui Beach on a somewhat overcast afternoon. The beach gets its
vibrant red colour from the presence of iron in the rock and sand.
We commenced our walk south by heading for the Awaroa Hut some 6km away. The final kilometre crossed the
Awaroa Inlet - a tidal estuary. Unfortunately, the tide didn't seem to match with our table readings and
we ended up wading through the waters well over knee deep in places!
The water was extremely cold and I don't know what was worse - the freezing temperature or the presence of
incredibly sharp rocks on the estuary bed.
Eventually we got across and spent a pleasant night drying out in the Awaroa Hut. The following morning we
continued around the Awaroa Bay setting off at dawn across the beach.
Shortly we were climbing back into the lush rainforest and got a chance to look back down across the bay.
One reason for the early start was to get to our next tidal obstacle on time. This was the small but
potentially deep stream crossing at the northern end of Onetahuti Beach. Fortunately, this did not hold us
up and we were able to take our time crossing the beach ...
... to the company of a few sociable feathered friends!
Our next drop to sea level came at Bark Bay where there was an interesting meeting of fresh and salt water.
The atmosphere was incredibly pleasant and tranquil.
The afternoon led us up into the rainforest again as we headed for Torrent Bay and the Anchorage Hut.
The coastline, with its lush vegetation was host to many streams and rivers running down the hillside. Our
passage across this one was aided by means of a bridge.
Our second night was spent at the Anchorage hut from where this shot was taken early the following morning.
We had some intesting company in the hut: a tramper carrying a set of golf clubs and a German guy who
couldn't sit on a bench without falling off and seemed to drop everything! I'm convinced he wasn't drunk either.
The previous night we had met a woman carrying a guitar along with her as well as a 90L backpack! Bear in
mind that we managed the walk with a 35L sack each!
A short walk the following morning led us back to Marahau finishing along Tinline Bay. We were back at the
van for lunch and ready to continue our journey south.