Takaka – Abel Tasman
The roads to the campsite within Abel Tasman were a little treacherous to say the least – there seemed to have been lots of recent landslides which made many of the roads very narrow, extra windy and all round a wee bit hairy. But we arrived and the site was huge as it was a starting point to one of the 10 great walks which they have in NZ. The weather was pretty dank and miserable by the time we set up camp, so we had ourselves a little lunch and then watched a bit of TV. We then had a word with ourselves and realised we had wasted an afternoon when we were surrounded by such beauty, so despite the drizzle we took ourselves off for a walk along the beach – we picked up lots of potential firewood on the way with high hopes of having a lovely campfire to warm us up that evening. Unfortunately that wasn’t to be as we could never get the fire started as the wood was all just a bit too wet…we noticed a few others attempting a fire too with little success so we didn’t worry too much. After an ice cold shower (which hurt ALOT) I think Scott actually had tears in his eyes as we were already freezing to begin with, we tucked ourselves in for the night with high hopes of a more productive day to follow.
Soooo the next day was the big day….the day we had planned on our biggy walk (not the great walk, that takes like 3 days) but a nice chunk of it, a 1 day option roughly about 18km. Unfortunately we woke up to torrential rain, and we talked ourselves out of it and in to it so many times. After a lot of procrastination we eventually got our walking gear on, packed our lunch and set out on the 6 hour walk. This was not before we spoke with the park ranger who seemed to insinuate that neither of us looked like “proper walkers”, with this we felt even more motivated to prove to this man who we would probably never see again that we weren’t just casual strollers.
Well to say the walk was hard was an understatement – not only did it rain consistently all day, but there was a hell of a lot of uphill walking and rocky terrain. Within 30 minutes and halfway up Gibb Hill we were already soaked through to our undies, but we pressed on mainly thinking about our pack lunch as motivation. Later than planned we eventually arrived at the hut in the middle of the forest, where some walkers stay over night however we just utilised the shelter to eat our sarnies. Putting our shoes back on and our very very wet coats was pretty painful, but we ploughed on and were making really great progress till we got to one of the first bays. This is where we made our first school boy error by not following the signs to next entrance pointing back into the forest. Scott thought he knew the way and although I was very dubious and voiced my concerns I followed him through this ridiculous pathway (which had never even nearly resembled a pathway). We traipsed through streams and climbed up river banks and practically swung through trees to follow this track which vaguely resembled a path but it was only getting more and more treacherous. To make matters worse and the situation all a little more embarrassing 2 German boys decided to follow us assuming we were going the right way…I think by the end of it and by the pace they walked off ahead of us once we found the real track, they were less than impressed.
So after giving up on this route and turning back…1 hour later and with now even wetter feet we found the correct path and got back on route. We eventually made it back to the campsite some 7 hours after leaving and were utterly exhausted. If only that had been the worst of the day over (although in retrospect it was a brilliant day), we still had the ice cold shower to contend with. It was definitely needed but it sure did hurt.
All in all we had an amazing time in Abel Tasman – despite the weather and the cold cold showers we felt so proud of ourselves after our walk. Obviously as we left on our last day the weather could not have been better, not a cloud in the sky, warm and beautiful sun…isn’t that just typical!!