Bites, stings & Able Tasman

Trip Start Nov 09, 2012
1
24
31
Trip End Mar 04, 2013


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Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Friday, February 1, 2013


We
decided to leave Franz Josef a day earlier than scheduled and make
our way up to the top of the island and to Motueka, which iis a small
town gateway to the Able Tasman National Park.



Abel
Tasman National Park is the smallest in NZ, at around 225 km2. It
consists of forested hills as well as the Golden and Tasman Bays.
Named after Abel, the first European to sight NZ in 1642.



There
are no roads feeding into the park, therefore the only way to access
is either by footpath via Marahau, or water taxi, either from Marahau
or from Kaiteriteri. The national park runs along the coast line and
has lovely, gold sand beaches and calm waters. The golden sandy
colour comes from granite that's been eroded by iron oxide and has
been turned the golden colour – which is found on beaches all along
the national park and North Eastern coast of NZ.



The
drive up took around 8 hours through very windy hills (could have
been mountains – they were very tall), arrived early evening into
our new holiday park and went off to investigate the town. The town
itself is quite small, with the high street shops organised in a
cross formation and with the usual restaurants, cafe's, pubs and
shops.




The
following day we went on our fist walk in the National Park. We got
picked up by coach at 8.30 am and drove to Kaiteriteri, the main
water port to get into the park.

We
were dropped off by the bus, boarded the water taxi and headed off to
a place called Medlands Beach, a deserted golden sand beach. Getting
off of the water taxi is by a metal ladder than they drop from the
front of the boat on to the sand. Our walk took us from Medlands
Beach to Anchorage Bay, a 12km walk along the coast line up and down
windy hills – some very steep... The weather was lovely, blue
skies and mid-20's termperature, perfect walking conditions.

At
the end of the walk we had a couple of hours to spare on Anchorage
Beach (so called because that's where a lot of boats drop anchor as
the bay's protected from rough seas) and spent some time on the beach
and in the sea. Along with being bitten by numerous Sandflies –
which are massive pains in the ass – I got stung by a wasp, well –
more like harpooned by a wasp, as the little sod left it's stinger in
my stomach, pumping loads of it's venom into me... Having watched a
few Casualties, I decided the best course of action was to let the
salt water at it – so spent the rest of the afternoon in the sea (for purely medicinal purposes)...
The sea however was home to jellyfish - unlike Australia - the non-stinger, so was quite safe, but was quite off putting having these little round, clear-ish jellyfish slap into me in the sea...
 In the evening we cooked ourselves some sausages, eggs and beans for
tea at the campsite and had a lazy evening chilling out.



The
following day we decided to go on a 17k walk, driving to Marahau and
catching a water taxi to Torrent Bay and then walking back. When we
arrived at the water taxi HQ, we saw that our water taxi was actually
a small boat sat on the back of a tractor, which we had to board and
then be towed to the beach – because of the several tidalness of
the seas (moving around 4 metres) we were driven through the town
centre, down on to the beach and then into the sea, to be taken to
Split Apple Bay (a large rock that's been divided into two) where we
boarded another boat to be taken to Torrent Bay. The walk was lovely
if not long , taking around 4 hours to complete – and we were board
and ready to stop by hour 3 – but it was scenic, with lovely views
of palm trees, bays, beaches and sea. Afterward we stopped into the
national park cafe for a OJ and a coke and then hobbled (our muscles
had seized up whilst sat down) back to the camper for the 20 minute
trip back to Motueka. In the evening we treated ourselves to tea out
in the town, only to realise all the bars/restaurants were shut
except the Post Office, which only seemed to deep fry everything so
we had a very unhealthy chicken burger and chips – followed by a
Kit Kat chocolate muffin from Countdown (supermarket) num num num!



The
next day was supposed to be a relaxation day and a 5k peninsular walk
but the weather decided to piss down (when it rains in NZ it really
rains) so we decided to head over to Richmond and check out some
shopping and a movie. It wasn't just the rain that helped the
decision to move on, it was also the 10 or so Sandfly bites all over
my body, on my feet, knees, arms and hands that are itchy and
generally a massive pain the bum – both of us seem to have been
bitten a lot – and unfortunaly, it seems the spray to use to repel
them brings me out in a rash so I also have a rash down both my arms
and on my feet. Added to that a big red rash on the side of my
stomach from the wasp sting – we decided to hot tail it outta
there!




We
packed up and drove 40 or so minutes to Richmond and the next
campsite and headed out to the mall for some window shopping,
deciding when we got there that it wasn't much of a mall and to drive
to Nelson – the nearest city. Once we drove in we found that they
didn't have a mall at all and that we didn't fancy walking around the
shops in the rain so we headed back to Richmond  – where
I bought a lovely watch, and tried to locate the nearest cinema –
which turns out was in Nelson – so we drove back to Nelson to watch
Quentin Taratino's new film – Django, before walking into town (the
rain had stopped) for some tea and then heading back to Richmond.




I
had been looking fortward to the Abel Tasman national park for along
time and wasn't dissapointed by the weather, walks or scenery, we
walked around 30k in 2 days and saw some lovely sights – includeing
some baby Shag bird chicks. What you aren't told about however, are
the horrible Sandflies or the plagues of Wasps and Bees on the
beaches which are more than aggressive – and for this reason, I'll
think twice before heading back...



Today
we're leaving the top of the island to head back to centre, stopping
first at Kaikoura and then onto Christchurch (where it all began).
On the way we drove passed Nelson (again), before picking up the
Queen Charlotte Scenic Highway for some lovely views of some lovely
bays, then nipped through Picton, stopping to watch the InterIslander
ferry make it's way out of port for it's journey to Wellington on the
North Island, and are currently driving South of Blenheim alongside
some VERY rough and windy seas (the same seas that we're supposed to
be going whale watching at Kaikoura) but we did see hundreds of seals
lazing on rocks and on the beach as we drove through – it's very
cool to see seals in their natural environment – just like on some
David Attenborough show – but they're here, in NZ, lazing on rocks,
minding their own business.. The weather's been a little damp for
the last couple of days but I'm told that a new high pressure's
moving in for some more sunshine – hurraaah!



After
a couple of days in Kaikoura, we're heading back to Christchurch to
drop off our camper and fly over to Auckland and pick up our new
camper – so we can go exploring on the north island :-)



Looking
back over the last week we realise why we're so tired, we've been
Luge'ing, Paragliding (Queenstown), heli hiking at Franz Joself,
driven 8 hours to the north of the island, walked 30k's around
national park, been eaten alive by bugs.  We;ve gone from the central West
to top South, and are on our way back to central East.
No wonder time's flying so fast...









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