Day 39: Rest Day: Abel Tasman National ParkJournal for 2014-11-28 | Published on 2015-08-23 00:16:17
Started off the day in a bit of a rush to catch our bus to from Nelson to the Abel Tasman National Park but we managed to get breakfast down, all of our gear together, and walk straight on to the bus. After picking up a handful of other people we made our way to the town of Kaiteriteri where we got into our various tour groups.
There were a whopping 5 people in our kayaking group for the “Big Tonga Magical Marine Reserve” tour and there were two guides so it was a nice small group. We jetted across the water in a small catamaran to Onetehuti where we got set up with our excellent two person sea kayaks.
Each kayak had two seats which put your lower half inside the kayak with a waterproof skirt covering the top and they also provided water proof jackets to keep you dry. Pam got to steer the boat with the rear rudder because they said the photographer should go in front.
We set out north in the Tonga Island Marine Reserve got to start seeing some of the amazing beauty of the coast. There were plenty of birds, sea lions, and even a blue penguin swimming around. The blue penguin is the world’s smallest penguin, bringing our penguin spotting count to three different species as we have toured the island. The water was very clear and a deep turquois color.
After a bit of heavy paddling we pulled into Shag Harbor and did some more adventurous maneuvering to get into an amazingly quiet little cove, there were no sounds or human disturbances, just us floating along in beautiful nature. After leaving Shag Harbor we headed south for some time a bit further out from the coast at times, but we did get to spot some dolphins which is a rare treat for the Able Tasman.
We pulled into Mosquito Bay for lunch. This particular beach is only accessible to kayakers due to the positioning of debris in the mouth of the inlet and we had the golden sandy beach and crystal clear waters to ourselves. Matt devoured his sandwich, several cups of juice, 2 bananas, a brownie, and about half the cookies that the guides brought as a demonstration of the caloric requirements of a bicycle tourist.
Just as we left after lunch a sea lion swam in a checked us out, swimming right next to our kayaks and pausing to stare at us. We headed back out to sea and paddled a few more km to our final destination at Anchorage. Along the way it was: rainy, sunny, cloudy, windy, and calm for various amounts of time.
However when we pulled into Anchorage the sun was brilliantly shining it was the most beautiful coast line. There are slightly orange colored rocks that just make the sand this almost gold color and the water was clear, it was a sight to see. Neither Pam nor Matt realized that New Zealand would have beaches that looked straight from brochures for the Caribbean.
All told we did about 12km of sea kayaking, and then took a boat back to our starting point. From there another bus ride back to Nelson and we were ready for dinner. We ate at our second fast food restaurant of the entire trip, a Burger King. Pam thought it was slightly better than the US version, Matt thought it slightly worse, either way it was quick calories and we didn’t have to cook. It also didn’t hurt that there weren’t any other obvious alternatives nearby.
It was a very enjoyable day, we are both going to be feeling it in the upper body tomorrow, but at least we didn’t use our legs much. Two more days of riding, we will be ending the bicycle tour in Picton and then taking the train back to Christchurch. Plans are still being finalized, but we are winding this trip up, thanks for the comments and support!
Getting started kayaking
A Blue Penguin swimming around
Inside Shag Harbor
A sea lion checking us out near Shag Harbor
View from lunch at Mosquito Bay
Bird nesting at Mosquito Bay
View from lunch at Mosquito Bay
Leaving Mosquito Bay
Selfie before our French tour buddies purposefully rammed into our kayak
View before leaving the Abel Tasman National Park
Pam and Matt after kayaking
The water color was amazing.
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