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Published: October 12th 2009
We thought we would organise a trip into the Abel Tasman National Park from Nelson so caught a bus there but after discovering a lot of the trips charge $30 each to pick up from the city we thought we'd be better off going to Motueka where there is no extra charge.
We did stay in Nelson for three nights at Tasman Bay Backpackers which provided free chocolate pudding and ice cream every evening. Unfortunately the hostel was also a base for an under-13s female hockey team. Who knew 13-year-old girls would be so noisy? So it wasn't quite the relaxing time we were hoping for after the last two disastrous hostels.
Arriving in Motueka was just what we needed though. The Laughing Kiwi backpackers is easily the best we have stayed at. We opted for a double room (getting a bit fed up of the plastic bag rustling by people getting up early for trips) and it was so nice to have our own space and be able to lie in without being disturbed by other people coming and going.
We organised a day trip into Abel Tasman so had to get a bus to Marahau at
some ridiculous hour of the morning to get the 9am water taxi. The water taxi ride was like a trip in itself. Firstly we had to get on the boat, wearing lifejackets, and then were towed to the water on the back of a tractor. It was a bit bizarre driving along the road in a boat! The driver took us to see Split Apple Rock, basically a huge boulder that has been split in two. On the way to the drop off point we came across a pod of dolphins going out for their morning fish.
We chose to get dropped off at Tonga and then would tramp (this is what Kiwis call hiking/walking) 9 miles along the coast to Torrent Bay where the water taxi would pick us up at 4pm. Abel Tasman is a stunning area. The walk took us up into the rainforest up cliffs into forest (we had to be careful not to trip over gnarly protruding tree roots) and then down to the most stunning golden beaches surrounded by the clearest water you can imagine. The weather had greatly improved too which makes everything look even better. We stopped to enjoy our lunch
on a beach looking out to an island in the bay. A perfect spot.
As the walk progressed things got a bit slippy from the recent rain so I nearly fell off the edge of the cliff a few times but it just added to the fun. Every time we looked up from the path we saw something to take our breath away. From the snow-capped mountains in the distance to the clear turquoise waters, the countless ferns and the many waterfalls. It's a magical place. We got to Torrent Bay an hour before the taxi was due so spent the time just soaking up the scenery. I would've loved to have done an overnight trip but Simon says he is never camping again so this was ruled out. But our day tramp certainly showed us the beauty of Abel Tasman.
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