And from here onto Marahau. Marahau is at one end of the Abel Tasman (AT) trek. The AT is one of the Great Walks in NZ and we were really excited about doing it. The AT is a coastal walk, and some of it is across beaches. As some of the beaches you can only cross 2 hours either side of low tide, so this means that you have to know where you will be at certain times, and then you have to be there. We got the water taxi up to Totaranui, stopping along the way to view the split apple rock, some comorants and fur seals
. The taxi driver was sound out, but he nearly lost his cool with an american couple who were complaining about the seals eating all of 'our' salmon. "Oh it's OUR salmon is it?" he snapped at them, it was kinda funny from where we were sitting though. Then we set off on our walk. The walk is 51 km and we decided that we could do it in 2 days so with tides and everything we would have to do a good pace to get it done. We got to the first beach crossing ahead of schedule and so we had to wait for about 1.5 hours for the tide to recede befere we could cross over. The sand flies were haveing a field day at our expense, so we had to keep on moving to keep them away. We made our way out along the bay further and further as the water went out to sea. Then more and more trampers were coming to the crossing but nobody was willing to cross the channel. Eventually we says lets do it, so we took of the boots and walked across barefoot, sometimes with the water up to above our knees. All the others were waitning to see how we got on before they ventured in (chickens!!!!!). It would have been a bit embarassing if we had to turn back, but fortune favours the brave and we made it across. Phew!!!! The second crossing was a lot more straight forward as the tide had gone out completly by the time we got there. We camped in Bark Bay, there were lots of sandflies around, and we were tired after the walk so we didnt hang around too long and called it a night. Next morning we were up and off along the track again. There was another tidal crossing to do but the times were really unsuitable so we had to walk around the bay to avoid the water, this was a nice stretch of the walk and the Cleopatra pool was especially pretty
. We made it back to Marahau passing some fantastic beaches on the way. We were tired when we got back to Marahau. We had a bbq and hit the hay.
10th of Jan
Packed up our stuff and left Marahua for the west coast and Westport town. We passed along by Buller Gorge and we started to notice that the scenery was getting very beautiful as we made our way along the road. Mountains rising up out of otherwise very flat land, and completely different mountains side by side. It almost looked artificial, but of course its not. Poor Orla was in pain from the itchy sand fly bites, so we had to get her nursed with creams and tablets and then she was fine again.
Stopped in Westport for the fish and chips, they are gorgeous here in fairness. Then on the road again towards Greymouth, this was a fantastic coastal drive, huge waves and rugged beasches, the LP says its like the Big Sur in California and they are not wrong. We just kept pulling over every few miles for another look at the scenery. Stopped in Punakouki to look at the pancake rocks. Not much you can say about rocks really except, very nice and see the photos for yourself. Stayed in Greymouth at Noahs ark, another lovely hostel. Went out to the Revington bar. It was quiet enough.
Next day we headed out towards Richmond and Rabbit Island. Rabbit island is a nature reserve, a beautiful beach and a really nice place. Unfortunately we had a showery day here so we didnt stay too long. Then we carried on up towards Motueka, where we got some great books. Kieran bought Edmund Hillary's autobiography, which was a very good buy seeing as he died only a few days later the poor man.