Day Thirty-Four – Abel Tasman National Park

We woke up to the sun streaming through the skylight in the van. It looked to be a beautiful day which was good as we were off to see the Abel Tasman National Park.
Our bus was due to pick us up early, so we only had a few minutes to kit up and thankfully we’d prepped food etc. the night before and as I stuffed a couple of boiled eggs and sausages into my mouth, the bus pulled up.
We were taken to Kaiteriteri and waited on the beach for the boat to arrive, soaking up the sun, or rather Laura was. I was too busy trying to take photos of the sand which had frozen overnight. It might be sunny but it was still cold.

The boat arrived and it drives straight up to the beach front and extends a gangway onto the sand. It’s an ingenious system and also proves how quickly the beach shelves away. The boat takes us along the coast all the way to the top of the park, stopping to drop people off at various points and pointing out tourist spots like the Split Apple Rock and seal colonies.

We soak up the sights and as we turn back at the top of the park, we approach our drop off at Medlands Beach.
Once the boat had left, we were surrounded by the sounds of the forest and the waves gently lapping on the beach. It was stunning and not for the first time on this trip, I was spellbound. We had about four hours to hike through the forest and along the coast back to our boat pick-up point on Anchorage beach, about 10.6km away. It seemed like we had plenty of time and we set off at our natural pace.
The path winds it’s way through the forest and you feel very isolated in this stunning, virgin forest.
We stopped at various points along the track to have lunch and soak up the atmosphere, but all too soon we’d reached Anchorage with about 30 minutes to spare. My first instinct was to remove my walking boots and go for a paddle. Sure I might only be weeks away from my 40th Birthday, but put me near water and I revert to a child-like state and love having a paddle and a splash. I tried to tempt Laura in, but as she could see my feet turning blue from the cold, she perhaps sensibly kept her feet warm and dry!
We relaxed on the beach and I desperately tried to bring some feeling back into my feet until the boat arrived. We opted for the roof of the boat for the return journey. It was freezing, but we’d hit that time of the day as the sun had started to sink and the light was amazing. The view was stunningly beautiful and sadly my photos just don’t do it justice.
Today has been incredible and I highly recommend anyone who is planning to visit New Zealand to try and spend a little more time here than we did, I feel that we only scratched the surface of this beautiful park.


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