Abel Tasman New Year Adventure

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Happy New Year!

We are returned from surely one of the most beautiful places on earth – Golden Bay in NZ’s South Island.

A week of colours like this!

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It has to be good for you to be saturated in such beauty and such vibrant colours.  Although I could not get enough of them and was sad to leave, I also feel totally filled up with nature after being completely outside for a week.  We are so blessed to live in a land where we have so much freedom to explore so easily.

So our trip….

We had a bit of sightseeing.  Charlie and I took the boat on the first day up to Anchorage with all the packs so the other four could walk up and meet us.

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Here’s Split Apple Rock.  The water is so clear in the Abel Tasman it is just beautiful.  I found myself running out of adjectives while the whole time wanting to express my love of it all.

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Even though there were many others around kayaking, tramping, swimming and picnicing with boats running up and down it never seemed crowded with so much open space, huge mountains protecting us and the endless sea always there….

We enjoyed a bit of wild life – very tame quail wandering about the campsites with many small fluffy babies in tow…

baby quail off for a walk

Baby quail wandering happily around the campsite

Paradise ducks, who mate for life, shared our new year’s eve campsite at Bark Bay.  This couple just had one youngster, again very tame.

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A shag sat for ages seemingly unaware of us nearby on the rocks.

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Then of course there were the Possums!  A family at Onetahuti Beach seemed very organised with their nightly raids!  Our (human) neighbours told us how possums had come into their tent and dragged a large chocolate bar out in to the bush the night before!  That night we had some possum adventures, then after all the excitement I was wide awake so at 5am I wrote this poem….

On the Abel Tasman track one warm summers night
While camped at Onetahuti we sure did get a fright
As soon as night fell and we were all tucked up in bed
Some cheeky possums thought it was about time to be fed
So down they came and to our camp they wandered freely in
And soon discovered, swinging from a tree, our rubbish bin
So one managed with his little paws to carefully unpack it
While balanced on the branch he rifled through each packet.
Another jumped on to the table and kicked up cups, flipped off a plate
Then screeched an angry “Yeeeeaarrrccchhh” to his rival possum mate
They ate a tin of tuna, half an apple too
They munched through bags to get to rice , gave many things a chew
When Granny got up still half asleep and went to have a pee
She got the fright of her life to see not one possum but three!
Unafraid one ran nearby, one dropped down from the tree,
She screamed and lashed out with a stick, Finn called out”What’s up Granny?”
She dived back in and then a possum bounced upon the tent,
Nana sat up with a start to see what made the dent

They rustled and they prowled about those nocturnal scavengers
They left our campsite looking trashed by their night time ravages.

I got the giggles the first time I looked out of the tent as a possum was sitting there perfectly displaying a dried vege packet, like it was in an advert!  This made me get my camera, but the pose had gone…

Nothing new for Kiwis who camp,  I know.

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The posing possum

So we had plenty of swimming and lazing around.  The clear water and golden sands were very alluring.  I worked out I had tramped the track 9 or 10 times, Finn asked me if I didn’t get sick of it….
Sick of this?  Ummmm, no.

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We managed a bit of walking….

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We had plenty of good food to eat.
Food was  a big part of the planning.

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Ollie and Finn cooking their dinner

Once sorted out though it was such a treat to not have to think about what to cook.  There are some gorgeous lightweight food options available and I also had some yummy dehydrated raw snacks. Ollie and his cousin Finn planned, carried and cooked their own food which made it very easy.

DOC (Department of Conservation) have done a great job and there are now flushing toilets and wonderful cooking shelters at each camp which makes for a very comfortable experience.

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There were also fireplaces to cook on with wood provided.  Charlie kept the home fires burning and  we didn’t use any of our own gas until day four.

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Charlie carried and made his own lunches – crackers, peanut butter and cheese.

As with any trip there were those poignant moments….

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One of many beautifully woven putiputi (flowers) left in a tree.

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A shell message greeting us on Jan 1st.

Kia Ora is a well used Maori greeting literally meaning “be well” and used as hello, thank you and a general salutation.

We had a  party where we exchanged gifts and many giggles….

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Presents were homemade from natural materials….

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Charlie with leaf earrings

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Ollie with a flax-handled knife

We had the trip gags…

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Like the time Charlie let the boys tent down with them still in it.

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                                                                       !!

While at Awaroa inlet the boys and I decided to intentionally strand ourselves up the far end of the inlet during high tide.  So armed with supplies we waded up, racing the incoming tide . We got as far as we could and found a bush walk to an old steam engine where we had lunch.

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We then got on to a beach and were deciding what to do/play/make to pass the time. (About 4 hours…)

Suddenly the friendly DOC ranger whizzed up in his nifty little boat and offered us a ride!  We felt it would only enhance the adventure and  got a lovely ride across the full inlet, (stopping on the far side to clean a toilet) and a tour of recent and very large landslides along the shore line while learning of the history of the area.

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This is about 15 minutes before high tide, the water came right up to where the boys were.

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The free boat ride across the inlet.

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The boys were great walkers….

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And so were the two Grandmothers!

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A rare shot of Marion!  (thanks!)

It was so fantastic to have mine and Wayne’s mums with us.  I feel so lucky to have such amazing role models in my life…and ones that are up for such an adventure.

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Mum and I lazing on the beach.

Big brother Dane managed to join us for our last night at Totaranui…

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For some rough’n’tumble.

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At dusk a lone bagpiper appeared and drew us down to the waters edge with his haunting tunes, which seemed both surreal & out of place but also very soothing and perfectly fitting for the surrounds and for our final night in the park.

The final few moments before our boat ride back to civilisation....

The final few moments before our boat ride back to civilisation….

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