As you all know, for us Thailand was always our chance to enjoy fine beaches and swim in the sea. So it was a big surprise to find beaches in New Zealand that were more stunning than anything we saw in Thailand.
From the port at Picton we headed to the beautiful Abel Tasman National Park, although there were a few distractions along the way….
(a quick road stop to try the local green lipped mussels)
(and another at the beach at Rabbit Island so Claire could do her exercises)
With the sun shining we decided to get stuck into the camping again and pitched our tent at Old McDonalds Farm near the park entrance. A large camping ground with a river we could swim in and ducks wandering the grounds looking for a snack (Claire’s breakfast cereal).
The Abel Tasman National Park is renowned for its’ coastal walks, so we took advice from the Department of Conservation and decided to take a water taxi to Bark Bay and walk back from there. Around 26kms. The beach at Bark Bay was stunning and a taster of what was to come.
We soon realised that the walk back was going to be tough in the heat as the trail climbed and descended over and over, but each climb was rewarded with incredible views and the chance to divert to perfect beaches. We decided to take a swimming break at Torrent bay. A lengthy deserted bay of golden sand and clear blue waters.
A detour from the trail led us to to Cleopatra’s river pool. To get to the pool we had to cross a small river by way of stepping stones. It seems that stepping stones are becoming Claire’s nemesis (insects are mine) and she took a backwards dive into the icy waters. As she landed her beloved sunglasses leaped into the water and I had to make a heroic dash across random stones (picture Bambi on hot coals) to successfully retrieve them.
We eventually hobbled into the cafe at the trailhead and indulged in well deserved milkshakes. Our hike was tough but thoroughly enjoying and the scenery was amazing.