While up in the north part of the south island, we had to check out Abel Tasman national park.
The park is named after Abel Janszoon Tasman - the first European to lay eyes on New Zealand. He found it in December of 1642, but did not land. He was in search of a shorter passage to South America from Australia.
You can't drive through Abel Tasman - the park is shut off to cars - so your choices are boat or walk. We did both. We took a boat tour of the coastline, got dropped off at one beach and hiked to another beach 6.4 km away. That is roughly 4 miles. Not a big deal for two adults - but with two little kids, it was a bigger deal. Especially when the kids like to play fairy, trip over their feet, and daydream enough that they start walking off the trail in the direction of the giantly steep drop off.
But, we held their hands and bribed them with jelly beans to walk on the uphills. That got them through it. Each of them walked approximately the number of kilometers that they are old. And no-one fell off a cliff. Success!
Trekking or sea kayaking through Abel Tasman is listed as one of the top five best things to do in New Zealand and it's easy to see why. Unlike everything else I've seen in New Zealand (sarcasm intended), it's amazing!
Okay, so this is amazing in a different way. Rather than go on about it, I will let the photos do the rest of the talking.
|Our boat waiting to take us into Abel Tasman|
|First sight: Split Apple Rock. This area is full of soft granite, which leads to interesting rock formations.|
|Sea Cave next to Split Apple Rock|
|First view of swinging bridge. We crossed this bridge on our hike.|
|Island in the middle of Torrent Bay, morning view. Taken while boat was at the beach dropping off a kayak.|
|Same island - afternoon view. From the side as we were re-entering the boat, rather than from the beach.|
|Governor's Island Marine Preserve. Can you count all the baby seals?|
|One of about 20 baby seals that put on a show for us.|
|A boulder at the beginning of our hike. Covered in 'black moss' that takes over lots of the wet areas of the hike.|
|A view of Sandfly Bay taken from our hike.|
|Sarah and Anna near an almost-cave passageway.|
|Going across the swinging bridge.|
|Taking a rest on one of our biggest uphills.|
|The end of our hike is in sight! Torrent Bay.|
|Playing on the beach after our hike.|