Travels

New Zealand (3): Abel Tasman National Park

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After a failed attempt - due to bad weather - of parachute jumping in the town of Taupo we are heading towards Wellington -capital of the country-, where we ride, with a car included, on a gigantic ferry that 3 hours later would leave us in Picton, north of the South Island. We spent the night camping on the outskirts of the city and we left with the first lights of dawn towards Motueka and Abel Tasman National Park.

On the way to the park we picked up Mike, a friendly Australian hitchhiker who had been traveling and living in different places in New Zealand for a few years. It was he who recommended us the campsite where we would end up staying and the protagonist of one of the anecdotes of the trip. We left it in the small town that asked us, we said goodbye wishing us luck in our respective destinations and, 3 hours later, while we nailed the pickets of our store, we saw it all heated up with the owner of the campsite. He had forgotten the case of the camera in our car, but the worst part was that he had an engagement ring - made of gold - in the compartment where the reels are usually put. The boy's face of relief when he saw us there - we didn't assure him that we would be at the campsite he recommended - was indescribable.

Once we had settled we went trekking through the park. Abel Tasman has a shocking beauty. Landscapes formed by sandy beaches with transparent waters that have nothing to envy to the Caribbean, except for the temperature of the sea, jungle of a great diversity of fauna and flora and great tranquility. You breathe nature. We chose one of the independent routes instead of accepting the guided offers, touring the jungle forest - with its magnificent tree ferns - for a couple of hours and flowing into a fantastic deserted beach. To access the beach you had to take a rope tied to the trunk of a tree and descend a few meters through the vegetation. The prize was worth it.

We rested there for a while and started our way back at sunset. The tide was low and we took the opportunity to catch some clams that had been slightly exposed in a clear sand of the traitorous sea. That night, Rober called home to ask his mother for the recipe to treat some seaweed clams. The result was rather disastrous and they were almost as crispy as the Matutano because we did not clean them well, showing that if you took us out of the pasta and some more things, we were denied in the kitchen.

The next day was one of the most fun of the trip. We rented a couple of kayaks for one day. After a brief introduction to the use of it, you could choose your own route through the park. While the whole group was heading south, we - how not - we went to the North to see the Apple Stone: two giant rocks of perfectly semicircular shape that appear in the middle of the sea, separated by less than 3 meters. While we were crossing the narrow passage that separates the two rocks we remembered the legend that the instructor attributed to the Maori. According to it, the giants that inhabited the coast of the South Island used their giant axes to split the rocks and the Apple Stone was one of those that threw into the sea.

We found a small sandy cove almost eaten by the huge and exotic vegetation. We ate there sheltering a bit of the inclement Sun. As a tip, always wear sunscreen from 30 because the ozone layer is practically non-existent in those latitudes. In the afternoon we continue paddling and discovering corners of great natural beauty. At the end of the day we were broken but, without a doubt, it was worth it.

It is a pity that we could not stay longer because there are organized tours lasting between 1 and 5 days, both kayaking and walking or by boat. By clicking here you can find information about the park, photos, prices and itineraries of the tours.

Of course, no matter how much we look here and there among the thick vegetation, we did not see the Tasmanian Devil.

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