Our current accommodation, situated at the entrance to Abel Tasman National Park in Marahau, is advertising for 'Woofers' to work for a few hours a day in exchange for living in 'paradise'. On arrival at the hostel in question last night, I thought this rather an exaggeration. Having spent a day in and around a park, I think it is possibly an understatement. Due to the high cost of wifi at the hostel here, I have no photos for you yet, so you will have to google to see how beautiful this place is!
Abel Tasman is New Zealand's smallest National Park, but as they say, good things come in small packages. We started off the day with a couple of hours sea kayaking out from Kaiteriteri to Split Apple Rock - a unique rock formation, which looks like someone has taken a giant chisel to a large sphere of rock. Paddling gently under the morning sun, on a calm blue sea takes some beating.
So in the afternoon we got a water taxi along the coast to the north of the park, up to the seal colony at Tonga island. Unfortunately for us, the seals had better things to do than wait around on the rocks to be snapped by tourist paparazzi, and the best we got were a few cute little pups at a distance - they really looked rather like black slugs... We got dropped off on a beautiful beach at Tonga Quarry, for a 'two hour' hike to Medlands Beach. The track was really good, and wound its way up and down through the forest. There are so many different types of vegetation, it is overwhelming - every shade of green imaginable, with the tall, native ferns dominating. We dropped down into Bark Bay and took the longer, high tide route round the back of the bay, for fantastic views of the expanse of the bay and river which runs into it.
As the 'two hour' walk took us an hour and ten minutes, MizHB decided to take the opportunity to have a good swim whilst waiting for the return boat. I walked further along the path, and took a side road off to South Head for expansive views of the Abel Tasman coastline - a truly beautiful spot. I was then tempted to head on further and took another side turning down to Sandfly Bay. Fortunately due to a slight breeze this did not live up to its name (more on Sandflys later...) but gave another beautiful beach with some great, granite boulders. After a few photos, I sped back to Medlands Beach and ran into the sea for a short swim and cool off before we got the boat back along the coast.
The day finished with a good dinner and bottle of the Torrent Bay Riesling - truly a perfect day.