I set off on Sunday the 5th of July. I took a water taxi from Kaiteriteri to Totoranui, about 3/4 of the way through the park. Unbeknownst to me, the water taxi ride was also a tour, so they stopped at a few places along the way before dropping me off. So I got to see some cool things before beginning my trek!
Firstly, we stopped at Split Apple Rock, a slab of granite that split in half millions of years ago (if I remember correctly!) No one really knows how it split, there are different theories, including it splitting in the Ice Age after some water froze in a small crack leading to this phenomenon. Who knows! It's cool, though!
Split Apple Rock
We went on to Anchorage Bay where George, a local resident dolphin, likes to rub his belly against the bottom of the catamaran we were on(if you ever want to see him, take the Abel Tasman Sea Shuttle, he likes that catamaran the best and will always approach it).
Below: a video of George!
After we saw George, we went on to see a colony of fur seals on an island just off of the mainland. This colony is local and stays there pretty much year-round.
A couple of fur seals resting on the rocks
Following, the pleasant and unexpected little tour, I was dropped off at Totoranui and I started my trek south. Basically, the water taxi took us up the coast and I walked back toward Kaiteriteri to Marahau over three days and two nights. Below, day 1.
Below: The beginning of the trip
Below: Why Golden Bay is called Golden Bay
Golden Bay beaches
Below: Crossing Awaroa Estuary
Looking down on Awaroa beach
After the second low tide crossing, I had to walk up Tonga Hill...it was really steep with my pack and I had to concentrate on man-made irrigation ditches built into the track. I had to tell myself to get to one and then once I got there, I had to tell myself to get to the next one. If I had looked all the way up, I would have been so discouraged! Every time I started heading downwards, I thought the hike was over and then I'd be faced with another uphill battle. In truth, it's not a hard walk, but I haven't been very active physically in a long time and with the 20kg backpack, it was really quite hard on me and my shoulders!
Below: my relief at thinking my trek had come to an end for the day
It was not to be! I had another 30 minutes of walking to do after I filmed that video, but I was greeted by a little friend and that helped me get through the rest of the walk in near darkness. The sun sets around 5pm and by 5:30 there is very little light left, let alone in the forest!
Below: a fantail greets me
Well, that's it for day one! Stayed tuned for days 2 and 3. Beautiful sights yet to be seen!