Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Abel Tasman Coastal Track

We're well into December and it doesn't feel like Christmas at all to us. Maybe it's because we just got back from an amazing three-day backpacking trip on one of New Zealand's Great Walks.

Although it managed to rain on us a little bit, overall it was warm and summery.

We went with our friend Brett, our American friend who works with Jake and has a pretty sweet blog of his own. The two guys crammed everything they could into their packs and let me carry my normal everyday-sized backpack, which was so nice. (Sorry guys, I guess we didn't need that iron skillet after all...)

There's an adventure everywhere you look around here. We took a water taxi from our launch point to the start of the track, and instead of going out on a dock and loading into a boat, we and 10 other trampers loaded into the boat while still on dry ground. They use tractors to load and unload boats of boats big and small. It was a little strange wearing a life jacket while rolling down the road in a boat. We had some rough seas that day, and even though the weather seemed fantastic, we were extremely happy to get back onto dry land.

The track goes across beautiful golden-sand beaches, and up through the bush and trees in the hills. But what I'll remember most are the low-tide crossings. Every six hours, the tide changes, and you need to plan your walk accordingly. When the time is right, you take off your hiking shoes and cross in what is sometimes knee-deep water. One time we had to keep your shoes on and carefully climb over boulders for 100 meters to find water that was shallow enough to cross.

If Jake or Brett tries to tell you a story about how I threw my own hiking shoe in the water -- in a failed attempt to toss it ashore during one of our crossings -- don't believe them. It'll only make them tease me more. :)

We stayed each night at clean and well organised campsites managed by the Dept. of Conservation (DOC). They had flush toilets! And clean drinking water, and fire pits with firewood. Amazing. We met several other trampers, many of them European. The DOC worker for the Anchorage campsite sat down at our fire and shared stories about driving a big rig through the center of Australia, and how there are so many kangaroos that sometimes you'll run them over in quick succession. "Boom, boom, boom..." as he described it. Ughh.

What a beautiful walk! The Abel Tasman is now one of my favourites, and I'd highly recommend it to anyone looking for a beautiful weekend trip.


Juli Ryan said...

My husband proposed to me at Anchorage. I want to go back!

jamie said...

Wow Juli, I can tell why he picked Anchorage. What an amazing place!

Brett said...

Thanks for the great trip and update with pics Jamie. Great times!

Yer Mum said...

Wow, Jake and Brett look totally on overload with those backpacks! Those are some very amazing pictures, sounds like quite a trip. I like the picture best of all of Jake & Jamie on the beach together.

Dave said...

Awesome pics...exspecially to those of us freezing our kabooses off in Missouri!