Thursday, 7 February 2008

Abel Tasman National Park

Right at the top of the South Island is the Abel Tasman National Park. It's mainly a coastal park, so we hired some kayaks and spent a day paddling along the bays and around the islands. All was fine in the bays, but out in the exposed bits of ocean ( especially the 'Mad Mile' ) things got a bit hilly ! Athena was up front so very generously broke most of the waves with her face, so I only got some mild spray in the chops.....

We were cream-crackered by the time we got to our hostel for the night - a very cramped catamaran houseboat. There were eleven of us crammed into each of the two hulls with no room to swing a pair of underpants, never mind a cat. Having said that we all slept very well apart from when the pump for the lavs started up everytime somebody flushed it......
Next day was spent hiking further along the coast. Beautiful forest and coastal scenery. I can't believe I didn't come here on my previous trips to New Zealand !

The trip back to the hostel was via water taxi. It was a high speed roller coaster of a ride through three metre ocean swells. I swear our spines had shrunk by several mm by the time we got back to land. Interestingly, the method of 'docking' the boat was to surf it into the beach aiming at a trailer attached to the back of a tractor. The boat hit the trailer with sufficient momentum to wedge it on, leaving the skipper the simple task of hopping onto the tractor and driving us up the beach ! I reckon that might have taken some practice !
Here's a view of the beach where we spent the night. Nice eh ?