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The Coromandel Peninsula

The Pinnacles

After a rollercoaster of a bus ride from Auckland to Thames, I managed to settle into the Sunkist hostel near the seashore. The building is the oldest in Thames, and had a lot of charm. It was eco-friendly too with buckets for kitchen scraps to feed to the pigs, recycling bins, electricity and water saving features, and free-range eggs for sale.

Me in an old Kauri tree

Thames is the gateway to the Pinnacles, which is the mountain range that runs along the middle of the Coromandel Peninsula – obviously I was there for the hiking. I met another Canadian girl and I guy from Germany at the hostel, and we all headed up to the Pinnacles together for a day hike.

GAH! That's steep...

There were plenty of swing bridges, ladders, and steep climbs, but the view from the top was quite spectacular.

View from the top of the Pinnacles

Whitianga

While I was wrapping up at Rainbow Valley Farm, I got an email from a couple living in Whitianga that I had contacted about WWOOFing. They needed help in the garden on their organic cattle ranch. Whitianga (Fit-EEE-anga) is on the other side of the peninsula from Thames. The drive around was beautiful, but a little scary at times. Again, the roads were narrow, windy, and right along the seashore.

View of the ranch from the kitchen window - fruit orchard, and pasture. If you look closely, squint your eyes, and shake your head a little you can see some sheep in the shade under the tree in the field. Everything is a bit dry!

I couldn’t have felt more at home at Jaqui & Rod’s place; they were incredible hosts, and I hope that they come visit Vancouver someday. I spent most of my time at their place working in the garden, but I also got a chance to feed the pigs and chooks, and pick plums in the orchard. January here is like July at home in the garden, so the zucchinis were growing like crazy! Jaqui and I made a really delicious courgette chutney that I can’t wait to make again this summer! Yummy!

A garden gnome must have taken this picture when I wasn't looking.

One of the reasons I was so excited to spend some time in Whitianga was because it is quite close to Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach – two places I wanted to visit. I worked ‘double time’ in the garden for a day, so I could have the next day off to explore the area and check out the beach. Luckily they had an extra bicycle that I could use for the day to get around.

I took the Ferry from Whitianga across the harbour ... to get to the other side. A little bit of a short cut on the way to Cathedral Cove.

Emily ❤ Fern Trees! This wa along the path to Cathedral Cove - so lovely and cool to walk in.

The Beach at Cathedral Cove - a bit busy for my taste, but the turquoise water and white sand were spectacular!

The namesake - I think that the Cathedral Cove we visited in the Catlins on the South Island was more spectacular, but this is still a great example of erosion forces at work! Eventually this tunnel will collapse, and turn into a pillar.

Stingray Bay - wordless.

Chaos at Hot Water Beach. These guys must have been at work for a while to build a pool like that!

How is hot water beach hot? There are two springs, Maori and Orua, under the beach heated by hot volcanic intrusions from 5-9million years ago. Release of carbon dioxide causes the springs to bubble up through fractures in the underlying rock. If you dig a hole deep enough at low tide, you can reach this hot water (60-65C), and have a lovely soak.

River swimming hole off HWY 309

After about 60Km of riding, I had to stop at the river for a swim on the way home! Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach were both cool, but I think my favourite swim spot was the river of HWY 309. The water was clear and refreshing, and it was nice to relax in the water without being pushed around in the big surf. People say there are killer eels that lurk in the depths of the swimming hole – I wouldn’t be surprised if there are, but I luckily didn’t have an encounter.

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Wanaka to Fox Glacier

Wanaka Wanaka Wanaka

The drive from Queenstown to Wanaka was beautiful in a new New Zealand way. It felt like we drove through Summer Land, Peach Land, a little bit of Penticton, and a dash of Lilooet. 360 degrees of snow capped mountains and scrub bush and grasses.

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Almost at the top of the Diamond Lake trail... thank goodness!

Wanaka is a mellower Queenstown (sans $16 cocktails). There were a few cute businesses that made puns on the town’s name – “Wanakab” taxi service was my favourite.

Set on a beautiful lake, there are lots of hikes and bike trails in the area. We chose to do the Diamond Lake track up to a view of the mountains and lake. Known as “one of the most spectacular day hikes in New Zealand,” it was on private land, so there were lots of sheep around. I got an opportunity to work on my sheep communication skills – something anyone can be driven to when there are this many sheep around and so few people. Anyways, usually I don’t get much of a response from my “Ba-ahahaha-ing,” and I think it’s because of my accent. This time I got through to them though, but Miranda nearly abandoned me. I will be keeping the keys to the car for the next little while. 😉

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The view of Lake Wanaka from the top of the Diamond Lake trail

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A random beach on the way to Fox Glacier was lined with rock and drift wood sculptures - this little guy was just so cute

There is also this odd little place called Puzzling World in Wanaka. It was a puzzling place.. check out the toilets.

WTF... kinda cool in an incredibly tacky way

WTF... kinda cool in an incredibly tacky way

Fox Glacier

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View of Fox Glacier... if you squint your eyes you can see it turning up the valley

There are very few places in the world where you can walk directly from a temperate rain forest onto a glacier. At 13km long, 800m wide, and 150-300m deep – Fox Glacier is spectacular. It’s neighbour, Franz Josef Glacier, is very well known and more popular because until about 40 years ago the road stopped there, so it did not reach Fox. On my radar from beginning our trip to New Zealand, I talked to a lot of people about the difference between Fox and Franz Josepf glaciers, and which one I should explore. Most people told me they were pretty much the same, so it didn’t matter which one you did. However, after doing some Sherlock-Holmes-ing, I discovered that Fox is actually the cooler glacier to visit and the visually more spectacular.

What makes Fox Glacier so cool?

1. The valley that Fox Glacier is in has a sharp turn in it. This causes the glacier to slow down at the corner and get all squished up. Ice isn’t like playdoh, so squishing = big ass ice towers.

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Ice pick in hand - and towers behind. This was the highest up the glacier we got

2. The terminal face of Fox Glacier is too active and far to steep to hike onto directly,  so an hour hike along the valley side takes you up onto the glacier at a much higher point then on the Franz Joseph glacier. Benefit is that this means you get more time on ‘clean ice’.

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Blue ice tunnel

3. Fox Glacier Guides take you along the top of the glacier versus along the bottom of crevasses. Both are probably cool, but I can only handle looking at ice walls on either side of me for so long.

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Had to ham it up a bit

4. Okay, this one is a little dorky. Fox is receding, and because the the glacier is accessible from the side, you get to see some very cool glacial features. Like recession arches.

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Compression arch coolness... hah!

Overall, I’m sure that doing a hike on Fox or Franz Josef glacier would be awe inspiring, but I’m happy with my decision to go with the under dog. After nearly seven hours on the ice, I was exhausted  and exhilarated! So cool to see something that has carved out so much the planet’s geography up close and personal.

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Fox Glacier

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On the terminal face! 75 years ago the terminal face was at that big vertical rock face in the background of this picture

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Talk about a tunnel! This one was sooo cool. Officially called a "moulin" and carved out by water

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I felt like spider man in my crampons - climb anything anywhere!

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The Milford Road, Routeburn, and on to Queenstown

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The Milford Road - looking back

The Milford Road

We witnessed Milford Sound with spectacularly clear skies on the morning we left for Queenstown. Miranda and I agreed that Milford was more majestic with the fog and rain.

The long and twisty road from Milford to Te Anau was beautiful, and a little scary at times. The Homer Tunnel was particularly ‘fun’. It was built in the 1950’s to complete the road, and it goes straight through a big mountain. Only wide enough for one lane of traffic, there is a set of lights at each end. Often tunnels wind around corners, but this one actually dips down!

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Looking back as we approach the Homer Tunnel

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We couldn't help but stop at the Mirror Lakes one last time.

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Suprisingly the reflection looked more amazing then the real thing

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Where mountains meet water

Queenstown

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View of the lake as we drive into town

Queenstown is full of every extreme sport you can think of.  Neither of us being adrenaline junkies, we took the opportunity to explore some of the trails and scenery. A grueling hike up to the Skyline Gondola, turned out to be a bit of fun. At the top there was a free chair lift ride. It wasn’t very long, but had great views of the lake and town.

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All smiles on the free chair lift!

We also got in our first bungy jump! HAH! Fooled you… we didn’t actually participate in the action, but we did get to watch a girl take the leap of faith off a platform sticking out of the side of the mountain – right out over the city! Crazy….

Routeburn

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I love the thick mat of moss as the forest floor that you can see in this photo

A great drive through the country side to Glenorchy took us to the start of the Routeburn Track – another of the Great Walks. We did a day hike up to the Routeburn Falls Hut – lots of swing bridges, and views of the river. Once up at the Falls Hut, it was amazing to look down on the flats.

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Lots of swing bridges! Some more swingy then others

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How many beautiful rivers? Endless

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Miranda's camera has a cool setting where you can pick one colour to highlight - this one shows just how turquoise the water is

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A well named creek if I ever saw one

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View from the Falls Hut down onto the Routeburn Flats

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Just as we were heading back, a helicopter flew in over our heads and landed on the near by platform. Very cool to see one flying so close - also somewhat terrifying... and of course produced fits of giggles captured here

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Walking the Milford Track

 

Four days of tramping! Hah! I still get a kick out of that (‘tramping’); it sounds so much dirtier then just going hiking. Anyways, the Milford track is NZ’s most famous trail, and has been called the “finest walk in the world.” I would have to agree that it was spectacular. At 33.5 miles (53.5Km) it starts at the end of one of Lake Te Anau’s arms, winds up the Clinton Valley along the river’s edge, steeply climbs the Mackinnon Pass, and descends even steeper into the Aurther Valley, following the river again through the valley to an end in the Milford Sound.  The first day is super easy with a nice boat ride, and then only 5km walk through Beech Forest to the Clinton Hut.

Day 1 – Lake Te Anau to Clinton Hut

boat

Where it all started! A 1.5hr boat ride on Lake Te Anau - a very calming way to start the journey

Clinton Valley from a side trail to a bog

Clinton Valley from a side trail to a bog

I didn’t take many pictures on the first day because I forgot to charge my camera! WHOOPS! It was like having a film camera for the whole track – flashback!

Day 2 – Clinton Hut to Mintaro Hut

Another fairly easy walk, but quite a bit longer. I woke up early and decided to get a move on because the weather report called for rain. It was a steady and slow climb up a few hundred vertical meters over the 16.5Km. It’s the start of the season, so a lot of the track is still raw from the winter’s avalanches. There were quite a few rock fall areas too. Apparently, the Fiordland area grows vertically the same amount as our fingernails in one year, but due to all the erosion from rockfalls, snow, etc the seismic action doesn’t add any height to the peaks.

I made it to the Mintaro Hut just as it started to pour! Luckily I had managed to get through day 2 and remain mostly dry!

Day 3 – Mintaro Hut to Dumpling Hut via Mackinnon Pass

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View upon reaching the Mackinnon Pass

This is the grueling day. Mintaro Hut lies right at the base of the Pass, so it’s a 1.5hr – 2hr hike up 1000m, and then straight back down on the other side. It was a foggy and rainy morning, and as we got higher up the mountain the rain turned to snow.

There were a lot of Keas, a sort of alpine parrot, as we climbed higher. They’re very beautiful with green and red feathers, but they’re also a pain in the but. They’re super smart, and like to play tricks on hikers… I got through the pass unscathed, but one guy lost his camera!

The Pass is where the really beautiful views of the Clinton and Arthur Valleys are from. I was disappointed not to get to see them because of the crappy weather, but then it all changed! It’s so true how weather can turn so quickly when you’re that high in the mountains.

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This memorial was built for Quintin Mackinnon who was one of the founders and first guides of the Milford Track... my camera has acted up since it had a bath so sometimes pictures are fuzzy. I like how old school this one looks with the sepia though. Oh - that bird on top of the memorial is a Kea.

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Wahoo! Made it to the highest point - fingers crossed the knees hold out for the way down

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I didn't have much hope that the fog was going to clear while we were on the pass, but then all of a sudden the sun and blue sky started to appear!

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And the fog lifts revealing the stunning Clinton Valley

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Ten seconds later this picture was taken - already getting socked in again!

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The view from the window in the long drop at the Pass Hut - must be the outhouse with the best view in the world

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These lovely little flowers were poking out of the snowy slopes as we descended into the Arthur Valley

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Cascading waterfalls along the trail

Sutherland Falls

Sutherland Falls - the highest waterfall in NZ at 580m. You may remember that I claimed this for the Browne Falls in the Doubtful Sound too. It's disputed which is higher because Browne hasn't had it's height officially recorded.

Day 3 – Dumpling Hut to Milford Sound

Last day on the track! A gentle (thank goodness!) descent from Dumpling Hut down the Arther Valley all the way to the river mouth at Milford Sound.

Te Anau gets about 2m of rain fall a year… Milford Sound gets about 8m. Every day you’re on the Milford Track increases the likelihood that you are going to get very very wet. It was a rainy morning, but actually started to lift mid morning.

It’s a funny thing down here, they tend to call streams ‘trails’ instead. I don’t know about you, but I’d just prefer if they were honest about it – you’re going to walk most of the Milford Track along stream beds. It’s hard to hold a grudge about wet feet when there is so much beauty to look at.

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Pop Quiz: Stream or trail??

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If you guessed stream for the last one, you're wrong. These are both 'trails'

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At this point, why bother putting in that green bridge?

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Water falls like this make up for having wet feet

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Beautiful Beech forest dripping with moss and lichen - the lower reaches of the Clinton and Arthur Valleys

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I made it! It looks like I'm about to pass out....

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Cute little boat to pick us up at the end of the track and transport us to Milford Sound "town"

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We passed BOWEN FALLS on the way to Milford! It was pumpin'!

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Made it to Milford - stunning once again

 

 

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Fiordland National Park

Taking up a whopping 5% of New Zealand’s land mass, Fiordland National Park is spectacular. More hiking and camping for us- yay!

Fiordland is aptly named – the steep glacial carved mountains drop into deep green seas. With nearly 8m of rain a year, we have been SO lucky to have a handful of blue skies down here. Other then make tourists soggy, all that rain has also created a really cool phenomena. About 2m of fresh water sits on top of the salt water in the fiords – so there aren’t any barnacles or mussels clinging to the intertidal zone. Not only that, the fresh water has traveled down the mountain sides and become concentrated with tannins, which tints the water with a rusty brown colour. This has impacted the amount of light that reaches below the 2m of fresh water so much that the sea creatures living at just 4m below sea level are usually found below 20m!

Key Summit

Above water there is lots to look at too. To see the tops of the mountains you have to crane your head back all the way! On our first sunny day we hiked up the Key Summit, which we were told was the best hike to do if you only have a few days in the area.

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That is the Hollyford Valley behind me

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Reaching the summit of the Key Summit on the Milford Road

The Department of Conservation created a self guided nature walk brochure for the alpine area at the Key Summit. Miranda and I are putting together a little video footage to share with you… but you’ll have to be patient and wait for that. Looking around at the top it was really cool to see the hanging valley that Lake Marian sits in.

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1 ❤ alpine

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Lake Marian sitting in a hanging valley

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I thought this little patch of moss was very sweet.

Lake Marian

Since we could see Lake Marian from the Key Summit we decided that it would be cool to hike up there as well to get a different perspective. It was a bit of a rougher track, but the turquoise/emerald lake was well worth it. We couldn’t stay at the top for very long because we were afraid the swarms of loonie sized mosquitoes were going to carry us off!

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You can see the trail marker, but can you see the trail?

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Me looking composed shortly before an epic battle against the mossies

Road Trip Requirement

As with any road trip, you can expect at least one minor mishap. We got a flat tire. Not to worry – the friendly people of Te Anau were there for the rescue!

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Our car all jacked up

flat tire fixer

Our friendly neighbourhood mechanic got us fixed up

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The culprit

The culprit was a rouge screw! We’ve kept it as a memento. The tire was patched and we were out of there in about half an hour. It was actually really cool to watch the tire being patched – I’d never seen it done before.

Mirror Lake

We caught Mirror Lake on a breezy day, so the sign was a little hard to read.

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A reflective sign - smart thinkin'

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Great views of the mountains from Mirror Lake

A Couple of Our Favourite Camps

 

The Eglinton Valley was pretty, but really cold and windy at night! Even had a bit of snow!

The Eglinton Valley was pretty, but cold and windy at night. Even had some snow!

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Henry Creek Camp - close to Te Anau and a little warmer then the mountain camp sites

Rainbow Reach to Shallow Bay

A much gentler hike, this one followed the river into Lake Manapouri.

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Lots of suspension bridges along this hike from Rainbow Reach to Shallow Bay

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Trout fishing is popular along the river... we really wished we had a rod too!

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Nelson and Beyond!

Sheep (very plentiful on the South Isl) and Nelson in the background

Sheep (very plentiful on the South Isl) and Nelson in the background

I’ve been offline for a few weeks because I was off galavanting in the bushier areas of northern South Island. We spent a few days hanging out in Nelson, which is a very cool little city.

Nelson gets brownie points for it's cool recycling bins!

Nelson gets brownie points for it's cool recycling bins!

Nelson also claims the “Centre of New Zealand”, which is a small plaque on top of a big hill that marks the exact middle of the country.

centre pics

Ba-ha-ha-ha

Ba-ha-ha-ha

After a few days in Nelson, I headed north-west-ish to the ity bity town of Tasman. Situated right on the estuary of Tasman Bay, the town boasts a corner store, and one gas pump. I think it is or used to be where the apple packaging facility was for the surrounding orchards. They also host a Kiwi Bird the size of a Grizzlar. Don’t worry, he’s not some mutant form of the reclusive bird, but a wooden sculpture. It seems that every small town in New Zealand has a claim to fame. Manaia is the “Bread Capitol of New Zealand” – home of the largest bakery in the country. All the bread went to Subway so you couldn’t buy a ‘tourist’ loaf, but to make up for it there is always the photo op under the massive loaf of bread that welcomes you to town. I believe this Kiwi bird serves a similar purpose, but the bus driver wouldn’t stop for us.

Manaias Bread Loaf, photocredit: TreMichLan on Flickr

Manaia's Bread Loaf, photocredit: TreMichLan on Flickr

This poor girl was being eaten by the crazy large kiwi, photocredit: melissa on picasa

This poor girl was being eaten by the crazy large kiwi, photocredit: melissa on picasa

What would take me to Tasman Home of the Biggest Kiwi Bird? WWOOFing. I spent a week wwoofing on a property just above the estuary, and perched on a cliff overlooking Tasman Bay. The woman who owned the property bought it 25 years ago, and has been slowly building it up and growing an organic orchard and veggie patches. The property was gorgeous, and we were lucky enough to have fantastic weather. There were two other wwoofers staying there as well – and English bloke and and Aussie girl – very nice folk! It was a lot more fun weeding with friends around.

View of Tasman Bay from the strawberry patch

View of Tasman Bay from the strawberry patch

Wind and solar power took a big chunk out of the home electricity bills!

Wind and solar power took a big chunk out of the home electricity bills!

I couldn't help but spend some quality time with the chickens

I couldn't help but spend some quality time with the chickens

Baby goats are the cutest creatures ever!!

Baby goats are the cutest creatures ever!!

Conquering the Abel Tasman

After WWOOFing, I headed out for the Abel Tasman Great Walk. The Department of Conservation (DOC) has created eight or nine Great Walks across the country that are easy to access, and well maintained in an effort to make the ‘wilderness’ more accessible. All the great walks have hut accommodation available, so you don’t hav to camp. This was great for me because I wasn’t particularly interested in buying a tent or carrying it for five days.

Map of the Abel Tasman walk

Map of the Abel Tasman walk

From end to end the track is about 55Km, but I think I ended up doing closer to 70Km because we took a few side trails and looped back in the end to catch a water taxi.

I met up with an English guy, Bruce, for the hike. The first day of the track followed the coastline closely and dipped down on to beautiful golden sand beaches. The coastline is all granite rock, and iron oxide (rust) tints the beaches golden. The water ranged from an incredible turquoise blue to deep green.

The walk started on a boardwalk through the Marahau estuary

The walk started on a boardwalk through the Marahau estuary

One of many gorgeous beaches along the walk

One of many gorgeous beaches along the walk

Adele Island

Adele Island

The first night we stayed at the Anchorage Hut. I guess I’ve been away from Canada too long because when I saw the crystal clear and turquoise water in Anchorage Bay, I didn’t think, “pretty, but glacier cold.” I thought, “a refreshing dip in the ocean would be so nice after a long day of hiking.”  SOOO cold!! Take your breath away cold!! It was definitely invigorating, and luckily the sun was out to warm  me up when I got out of the water.

Care for a dip?! Brrrrr!

Care for a dip?! Brrrrr!

Sunset at Anchorage Bay

Sunset at Anchorage Bay

Ahhh... warm sun!

Ahhh... warm sun!

The next morning we had a tidal crossing first thing. We had hoped we wouldn’t have to get our feet wet, but in the end the boots had to come off. From there we hiked up to some pretty water falls, and even got to cross a suspension bridge over Falls River.

Tidal crossing at Anchorage Bay

Tidal crossing at Anchorage Bay

I wanted to go for a boat ride, but figured my pack would sink the boat

I wanted to go for a boat ride, but figured my pack would sink the boat

The water in Falls River was crystal clear

The water in Falls River was crystal clear

Me on the suspention bridge

Me on the suspention bridge

Bark Bay was the destination that evening. More beautiful beaches and turquoise water!

There is a penguin hide out near here

There is a penguin hide out near here

The next morning it had already started to drizzle as we left the hut, but we hoped that it would hold out for a few hours.

Along the Bark Bay estuary... a litte cloudier today

Along the Bark Bay estuary... a litte cloudier today

It didn’t. By the time we got to Onetahuti Bay it was pouring. We braved a big jump to get across the tidal crossing at this beach. At this point my feet were already wet so it didn’t really matter that they got a little soggier when I missed the bank. Ooops!

By the time we reached the Awaroa Hut we were both soaked to the bone. I had my camera wrapped up in a plastic bag in my jacket pocket, but either the bag or my jacket leaked because the camera ended up having a bath. Luckily I’ve dried it out now, and it works most of the time!

When we got into the Awaroa Hut there were a couple of guys standing in their boxers by the fireplace trying to dry off and warm up. After a while they started to put all the gear back on, and said they were headed to Anchorage Bay… over 20Km and two tidal crossings away. I have no idea what time they ended up getting to Anchorage, but I know they made it because I saw them walking around Christchurch yesterday. The funniest part was that they had all their gear and jackets back on when we realized they still weren’t wearing any pants. When we jokingly told them not to forget about that vital piece of clothing, they shrugged and said there was no point in wearing pants because they would just get wet. Yes, they had extra dry clothes to change into, so they didn’t have to worry if one pair got wet. I suppose they just wanted to be able to say they walked the Abel Tasman in two day without pants on.

The next morning, the sun broke through again! I turned my camera on and blindly took a picture – at that point the screen wasn’t working and I wasn’t sure if it would ever work again. I got a good shot of the estuary though!

Awora crossing at high tide

Awora crossing at high tide. You can just make out the orange marker on the other side

Low tide wasn’t until 1:30pm, so I had to wait until 12:30pm to set off across the inlet. Despite it being in the ‘safe zone’ to cross, the water in some of the channels still came up to mid-thigh.

Hiking through Anapai Bay and Mutton Cove was beautiful, but walking on the beach is also very tiring. The seal colony at Separation Point wasn’t very populated, and they didn’t care much for my attempts at seal barking. I suppose I’ve got the wrong accent down here.

The next day back tracked 7.5Km to Totaranui, where I caught a water taxi back to Marahau. The water taxi ride was lots of fun, and the driver was an excellent tour guide. I was the only one on the boat all the way to Anchoarge Bay, so he took me over to the Tonga Island seal colony, showed me where the Blue Penguins come ashore at night, and shared a few Maori legends of the area. I even spotted two penguins swimming!!

The water taxi got pulled out of the water by tractor once we got to Marahau, and then you ride in the boat all the way back to the main road. photocredit: Abel Tasman Centre

The water taxi got pulled out of the water by tractor once we got to Marahau, and then you ride in the boat all the way back to the main road. photocredit: Abel Tasman Centre

That night I made it back to Nelson, Miranda and I left for Christchurch the next morning.

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The Platypus Bush Camp, Eungella National Park

The swimming pool at the Bush Camp

The swimming pool at the Bush Camp

Tiered of the East Coast party scene and cookie cutter backpacker route, it was really nice to escape into the mountains and spend some time at the Platypus Bush Camp. It’s exactly what it sounds like. It’s in the bush, has a glorified BBQ for a kitchen, an open air sitting area, and the clearest river I’ve ever seen – perfect platypus habitat.

The Platypus Bush Camp - view coming back from the swimming pool

The Platypus Bush Camp - view coming back from the swimming pool

My own little tree hut!

My own little tree hut!

I did a great hike to a waterfall and swimming pool with two girls I met up there – Norah and Ruth. The water was very cold, but it was nice after a hot hike through the forest.

Waterfall on the Wheel of Fire hike

Waterfall on the Wheel of Fire hike

Perfect for a refreshing dip! SO COLD!

Perfect for a refreshing dip! SO COLD!

I didn’t actually get to see any platypus, but it’s my own fault because I wouldn’t sit still long enough. C’est la vie!

Crazy tree

Crazy tree

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