Friday, April 24, 2009

Abel Tasman Day 1

As Emma and I had been telling everyone for months beforehand, we were going to the South Island over Easter to walk the Abel Tasman Coastal Track.

On Thursday we piled into the car, drove down to Wellington, got on the ferry to Picton, stayed in the Picton YHA (rating: adequate) and then drove over to to the start of the track at Maharau on Friday. For no very good reason we didn't take any photos at all until we were starting the track on Saturday morning.

This is the ground of "The Barn Backpackers" (rating: Good, but needs more showers) where we stayed before and after the tramp.

This photo has as many clouds as we saw for the first four days:

(that is to say, none at all).

Most of the tramp was gentle up and down through forest, with plenty of views of beaches beneath us.

One of the surprising things about the Abel Tasman park is that dotted along the coast are various enclaves that are still privately owned and contain private dwellings or holiday homes. They look pretty idyllic but I don't know if having to take the boat to the pub or being kept at home for days by winter storms would be much fun...

After only about three or so hours, we came into view of our destination, Anchorage harbour, and by about 1:30 we were walking along the beach to the hut where we were going to sleep that night.

That meant that there was nothing left to do but sit on the beach and read our books all afternoon (this went on to become a theme of the trip...).

The experience was a little strange on one respect though: despite being a (admittedly short) days walk from the trailhead into a national park, the beach was busy, with probably a couple of hundred people arriving or departing by kayak or water taxi.

OK, it wasn't that busy really, but it was a bit more than we expected, and we ended up thinking that we should probably have stayed at one of the smaller campsites nearby. But we shouldn't complain too much: we'd had an extremely pleasant and relaxing day and the weather was set fair for the week...

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