Friday 6 January 2017
As Sylvia headed off to Singapore to hunt out an apartment for us I was very privileged to be invited to Kaiteriteri, in the north of the South Island, by Karl and Rachel and their son Sam. We stayed in an apartment overlooking the beach. Rachel’s extended family, mainly from Christchurch, were camped in one of the local camping grounds.
Karl and I spent part of the of the first couple of days walking some of the many mountain bike tracks and admiring the stunning scenery.
It was suggested that we should take a boat up the coast of the Abel Tasman National Park and walk part of the way back. A bit of research at the local boat kiosk and we came up with a plan: Take the boat all the way up the coast to Totaranui, then on the return trip disembark at Awaroa at 11am and walk the 24km down the track to Anchorage in time to catch the 3.45pm boat home.
Rachel went over later to get a ticket for her cousin Liz to be told that they had rescheduled us for a 5pm boat pick up as we couldn’t make it by 3.45pm. We boarded the shuttle boat at 8.45am on Friday morning. These catamarans are well set up with a bow gangway that is lowered directly onto the beach.
Heading up the coast we pulled in to have a look at Split Apple Rock.
We cruised up the coast with its many golden sand beaches; the colour apparently comes from rusting iron the the sand. We passed Adele Island (named after the Frenchman D’Urville’s wife) where a few seals basked on the rocks in the sun.
Several more stops and we reached Totaranui Bay and camp ground. This site has road access and was a farm until 1942 when it became part of the park.
We then headed back south to Awaroa Bay where we disembarked and began our stroll down the coast. The northern end of this bay was until recently in private hands and came up for sale. It was bought by the public and government and added to the park.
Peppers Lodge is located not far down the track with accommodation, cafe’s, bars and a pretty good looking vegetable garden – it’s a popular place.
The track took us up over a ridge and down to Onetahuti Bay. The track is wide and well maintained with quite a few people going in both directions. The bush, mainly Manuka and ferns, is very pretty. Karl and Rachel (in pink) let me go ahead to take the odd pic.
Next was Tonga Bay. In 1907 granite was carved from the rock here and sent to Wellington and Nelson. The steps to the Nelson Cathedral came from here. All that remains is the winching block.
The track went over another ridge to Bark Bay where we stopped for a bit of lunch.
There were all sorts of people on the track, some in jandals or flash shoes, even hand bags had been brought along for the stroll. The beauty of this track is that one can get dropped off and picked up at many different places making for walks to suit all.
Another bit of up and down took us to Medlands Bay. The tide was still a little low so we could cross the inlet.
A weka grazed on the lawn at the hut, one of three huts along the track people can book to overnight in to break up the journey.
As we headed up the next ridge we looked down on some of the many kayakers present along the coast. Many people hire or bring there own kayaks to paddle the coast.
Falls River Swing Bridge was the next main attraction. At high tide shuttle boats can make it up here. Young seals are often seen chasing fish up the river.
Up over another ridge with more stunning views, we headed down to Torrent Bay.
When the tide is out the track goes across the estuary you can see in the background of the photo above. We were too late for that which meant an extra 4km stroll around the edge of the bay and over a few more ridges.
At 3.30pm we arrived at Anchorage just in time to catch the 3.35pm boat. When we arrived back at Kaiteriteri the lady at the kiosk was a little surprised to see us. We were sitting comfortably, beer in hand as the 5pm last boat of the day pulled in to drop its passengers.
This is just another of New Zealand’s stunning places.