Located on the South Island’s northern shore is the Abel Tasman National Park. Following the park’s coastline is the Abel Tasman Coast Track, one of New Zealand’s “Great Walks”. It’s a 34-mile point-to-point trail that can be walked in either direction. Since the northern end of the track is fairly remote, instead of doing the whole route, we opted to do an out-and-back hike from the Marahau carpark at the southern end (a short 30-minute drive from Motueka). Starting at the Marahau carpark, we made it as far as the Torrent Bay estuary, then turned around – walking a total of 17 miles over seven hours. The track is relatively flat, so the miles went by fast.
The scenery along the track did not disappoint. We enjoyed stunning views all day – from the tops of granite cliffs to the beaches down below.
After Torrent Bay beach, we reached the Torrent Bay estuary and it was no longer passable by foot. It is a section of the track that can only be crossed within two hours either side of low tide. We made this our turning around point.
As we stood there at the Torrent Bay estuary admiring the view, Jay spotted a stingray in the water. He immediately went into the water to film it with the GoPro. Check out this 20 second clip here: http://youtu.be/vG7RJGq0jhE
On our way back, we took a side trail down to the Watering Cove. We took a break here to enjoy the water and eat lunch.
From the time we began our hike in the morning to the time we finished in the afternoon, it had gone from low tide to high tide. Also, when we started the hike, it was cloudy and overcast, but by noon it was sunny with clear blue skies. Between the shift in the tide and the change in the weather, the views on our way out in the morning had a completely different look and feel than the views on our way back to the carpark in the afternoon. It was stunning to see the dramatic changes in the landscape created by the shift in the weather and the tide. As I looked back through our photos, I was able to match up a number of the “morning vs. afternoon” views. In other words, pictures taken from the same/near same viewpoints, but at different times of day. It’s hard to grasp how the same landscape can change so dramatically in just a matter of hours. These “side-by-side” images provide a glimpse into what it was like. It was absolutely fascinating.
After finishing the hike, we drove into Motueka and stopped at the “Up the Garden Path Cafe & Gallery”. Back home, there is a coffee shop in Boulder that Jay goes to every morning – Amante Coffee. Another morning regular at Amante is Clyde Ray; her daughter and son-in-law run the cafe/gallery in Motueka. We told her we would check it during our NZ travels if we were able. Well, to our surprise, when we stopped by the cafe, Clyde Ray was there – she happened to be in NZ on a visit. We enjoyed a nice glass of wine together in the late afternoon sun. It was a lovely ending to a beautiful day.