08.02.2013 - 26.02.2013
After getting lost on driving to the start of the Abel Tasman track we eventually started walking at 11am, not the best time of the day as it was the height of summer and with minimal ozone the sun is incredibly strong. This time around we were carrying all our food and camping gear for the next days so our bags were a lot heavier.
We started off at Wainui, the northern end of the 51km track. The first part was walking up and down hills through bush. At the top we looked down on the emptied Wainui Bay as the tide was out.
After walking a few hours we arrived at Mutton Cove, a beautiful secluded golden beach. I wish we had stayed here for a swim but as we were carrying our bags and I had a stinking cold, our walking times had dropped and we were in danger of not making it to Awaroa Bay before low tide to gain access to our pre-booked camp.
We walked past stunning bay after bay but knew we couldn’t stop for long. We even saw a massive ray swimming right next to the surf, only about 1 meter off shore! We eventually arrived at Totaranui where we stopped for 20 mins to have lunch but after that we had another 5.5km of steep hills.
Thankfully we arrived at Awaroa on time and crossed the waterless estuary to our camp spot.
As soon as we walked up to the camp a mixed swarm of mosquitos, sand-flies and wasps converged on us as a big cloud. We ran to the loos to put our trousers and long sleeved tops on and then finished erecting the tent. It didn’t matter how many layers we had on, somehow the mozzies kept sucking the life out of us until we actually got inside the tent. And that is were we stayed for the rest if the day, bearing in mind we arrived at the camp at 4pm! We only got out quickly to rehydrate our dehydrated roast lamb dinner and pop to the loo. We could see thousands of mozzies in between the 2 layers of our tent, and the wasps I saw were trying to sting the tent!
After a terrible sleep due to the adventurous mouse dancing on our tent all night and trying to outrun an owl we quickly packed up our tent, had breakfast and ran out of that hell hole. We were a little late leaving and the tide was coming up so we had to wade through water some of the way to the next part of the tack. We saw another ray in the estuary which was cool.
Today we would walk 23.5km from Awaroa to Anchorage having to take into consideration 2 tidal crossings. The first one was at Onetahuti Bay, we arrived 2 hours early and to cross it would mean swimming and getting everything soaking wet. Luckily after 20 minutes of waiting a guide paddled over and offered us a lift in his kayak. So one by one, with our bags on our lap he very kindly took us across the estuary and onto the beach. Now we were passed the first tidal crossing we walked towards Bark Bay where we would stop for lunch. Our pace was a lot quicker today and we stopped a lot less as the views weren’t as good as the previous day, mainly walking through dense bush. After a quick lunch at Bark Bay we headed off towards Torrent Bay, the next tidal crossing. This time we got there at the right time and walked across the empty estuary and onto Anchorage.
After setting up camp we headed down to the lovely beach and went for a swim to sooth our sore feet and limbs. Another early night loomed so we cooked our dinner and went to sleep.
To next morning we woke to a low mist all around so we just got on with it, packed up and headed out for the final part of the trek.
It was an easy morning walk of only 12.4km and we got to the end by 11am, at the end there’s a great café, so we had a drink, a little early for a beer, and then got picked up and taken to the next coastal town, Kaiteriteri.
Over the next couple of weeks we chilled out In Kaiteriteri and Nelson. Spending some time at my parents rented holiday house over looking the beach. Nice and relaxing, with not much to do but enjoy the sun and the beach.
We stayed in Nelson for the weekend, where we checked out the local market and beaches, before trying to sell our beloved chariot car!
It was easier than we thought it would be to sell it, but it was a tearful goodbye when the new owner drove off.
Next we headed down to Christchurch on the bus! So glad we had a car for our time here as this took a whole day, when we would have driven it in 5 hours!
Not much to say about Christchurch, its centre is still closed off, just before we arrived it was the 2nd anniversary of the earthquake that devastated the city! Otherwise it was a cool place with nice parks and lots of eateries. From here we jumped on a plane to Australia to begin the next chapter of our lives…