Abel Tasman Track

In Which Jeff Gets His Bumpy Boat Ride and I Find the Best Ring Ever

After stocking up on groceries, very expensive (but not top shelf) gin and vodka (and tonic and limes of course), and moderately expensive facial products, Jeff and I headed off for our first national park adventure on the South Island. After talking with numerous people, we decided to stay in Little Kaiteriteri, as the name says, a very small town (town is even too big a word for it), just to the south of the park. Found another nice motel here, Torlesse Motels with views to the Tasman Sea.

We arrived late in the day and scoped out options for taking a boat into the park the following day, then packed up a bag full of provisions, including our spendy gin and vodka, and headed to the small but stunning gold-sand beach less than five minutes from our place.

As mentioned before, we were in New Zealand during spring. The plus side: peonies were in bloom, so I got them twice in one year! The down side: the weather was really spotty. We seemed to be visiting places just before or after good weather, but rarely during warm, sunny days. So rather than the bright sun, sapphire water and golden sand experience, we had the cloudy/rain, multi-colored water, and golden sand experience. With some big waves thrown in for good measure.

We decided that despite the weather we would take the Sea Shuttle “Discovery Day” tour, which included a boat trip from Kaiteriteri (the town next to our spot, Little Kaiteriteri). The boat motored up the coast to Totaranui, dropping people off at different bays along the way. We headed out on relatively calm waters, and the sun peeked out enough to throw some low rainbows.

Rainbows in Abel Tasman

Rainbows do make the rain more bearable

Rainbows of Tasman Bay

Several rainbows make it even better

About a third of the way through the trip, winds came in and the sea got big. Our little boat was going up and down waves, into and out of troughs. All of which made Jeff very happy and me, thankfully, only a bit green.

After at least an hour (or so it felt) of tossing upon the waves, we were dropped off at Medlands Beach to walk 10.5 kilometers to Anchorage Beach where we would be met by the boat and returned to Kaiteriteri. The weather report had called for the rain to lift by mid-day, when our hike was to start. The weather did not check in with the weather report… Thankfully the boat operators had a disposable rain poncho. Aside from feeling a bit like a walking trash bag, I at least did not get soaked through. And thankfully we were not doing the entire Abel Tasman Coast Track, one of the “Great Walks” of New Zealand. This one stretches for 60 kilometers and takes three to five days to complete. The people we saw who were clearly walking that did not look overly happy.

Here is where the pictures take over. It was a stunning walk, and as the photos of Jeff and me show, we were certainly not suffering. Storyline continues in the photo captions…

Hiking in abel tasman

Happy in my trash bag rain poncho

Dense bush of abel tasman

The “bush” was as dense as we had heard, the effect here, pure VanGogh

Swing bridge on coast walk

Our first swing bridge in New Zealand

Abel Tasman trees

Ghost trees agains the verdant forest

Jeff surveying the drippy forest

Jeff surveying the drippy forest

Drippy Torrent Bay

They were more prepared than we were…

Bays of Abel Tasman

Out of the forest back to the coast

Low tide to Anchorage Bay

Where we had to cross a rapidly filling estuary to finish our hike (at least via the ‘short’ path)

Hiking Abel Tasman Track

Another view of the estuary; that red sign shows where we need to go

Torrent Bay Estuary

Whimsical rocks lining the Torrent Bay Estuary at low tide

Abel Tasman shellfish

Clearly lots of shellfish. Sadly (but rightly) no collecting and consuming in the National Park.

Oysters in Abel Tasman

Evidence of oysters, but none to be found

Torrent Bay rock formations

More fabulous rock carving by the tides

Estuary crossing Abel Tasman

Happy selfie once we made it through the waist deep waters

Anchorage Bay

Out of the estuary into the (briefly) turquoise waters of Anchorage Bay

Abel tasman yoga pants

Well, maybe just shy of waist-deep waters

yoga on able tasman beach

And the back side

shells of new zealand

After I stopped posing, started looking through the sand and found this, the perfect shell ring, and just the right size

birds abel tasman

Quail on a mission

Anchorage Bay Abel Tasman

Shifting colors of Anchorage Bay

SeaShuttle service Abel Tasman

Jeff’s panorama of the boat after we returned to Kaiteriteri, on a thankfully calmer sea

And here some artsy shots; sea shells and burnt driftwood arranged on golden sands:

The next day, still a bit on the rainy side, we headed out to a small local park known as “Resurgence,” officially Kahurangi National Park. The north branch of the Riwaka River emerges from a network of caves under Tanaka Hill. The color of the water where it surfaces is mesmerizing. Unsurprisingly the area is sacred to the Maori. A thoroughly beautiful and peaceful spot, with an almost weighted silence to it. Almost as if you want to hold your breath the whole time you’re there.

Carved Maori gate South Island

Entrance to Kahurangi National Park

Riwaka River

View of the river as we walked to the source

Resurgence park New Zealand

Resurgence. This just slightly captures the stunning color and peace of this place where the water surfaces from its under-the-mountain journey

Riwaka river view

So unbelievably green, stunning everywhere you looked

Resurgence pool New Zealand

Root dipping down to the purest of waters

Riwaka River pools

About 100 yards from the blue pool at its exit site, the river pools again, this time in this jewel-like green color

The rest of our time here was spent walking back and forth over the rocks (tide in) and around the rocks (tide out), from Little Kaiteriteri to (big?) Kaiteriteri, alternately in search of flat whites and green-lipped mussels. Many New Zealanders come here to vacation annually. A thoroughly enjoyable spot, even better I’m sure when the sun shines bright.

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