Friday, April 24, 2009

Abel Tasman Day 2

After a not especially restful night in Anchorage hut (thanks to a seeming party on a boat and some champion snoring), we woke to find that the Anchorage is rather quieter in the morning than the afternoon.

The first part of the day was a walk around Torrent Bay to Torrent Bay village. It's possible to walk across the bay at low tide, but the tide times made this basically impossible (high tide was about 11:30 AM).

One advantage of taking the long way around was that it got you to where the side trip to Cleopatra's Pool began. One of our guide books claimed the pool was "one of the highlight's of the walk" which was over selling it a bit.

It was nice and all, but not even close to the highlight of the trip -- it's hard to say what the highlight was for us, but it was probably one of the bays further north.

Then we toddled back to the main path and around the bay some more to Torrent Bay village.

Torrent Bay village is a larger enclave of private land in the park, and the overall effect is a little odd, with street names and hedgerows and houses, but sandy streets and no electricity and, well, being entirely surrounded by the sea and a national park. I think most of the houses here are holiday homes or cottages you can rent; Awaroa, which we passed later in the walk seemed more like a place where people actually lived.

This is the view from the beach at Torrent Bay. This was about where we started to realize just how amazing this area is -- I mean, this view is clearly from some Pacific paradise like Fiji or Vanuatu or wherever, not rainy old New Zealand, right?

After Torrent Bay, the path went up steeply and inland a bit, giving us a cool view back over the village.

Around here the vegetation changed abruptly from a fern dominated damp forest that made one think of Jurassic Park to a much drier, almost Mediterranean style. We were never very far away from the coast though.

After a while, we descended to an impressive 47 meter suspension bridge over the Falls River.

After this, it was just one more up and down before we got to Medlands Beach.

This was a much more fun experience than the night before. For one thing, we were camping on the beach!

There were a few tents up when we arrived, which turned out to belong to some Kiwis who were having a gentle Easter holiday paddle around the park. This was our first experience of just how much stuff you can fit into our kayak: while we were cooking up our exciting meal of dehydrated curry with instant mash, the paddlers were opening one of their 8 bottles of wine and cooking up butter chicken with rice. We were a bit jealous :)

The sun set slightly behind the headland which meant we missed the full show, but it was still fun to sit and watch the stars come out and chat with our fellow (slightly bonkers) campers. They also gave us some of their mulled wine, which made us feel a bit less silly for walking and not kayaking :)

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