Saturday, April 13, 2013

Abel Tasman Coast Track

April 13th
We are heading out at 9AM on a boat at Kaiteriteri to Abel Tasman National Park. This is a park with no roads and no access other than by boat. The most popular way to see the park is to hike/tramp the coastal track. We are taking a fairly short trek from Tonga Quarry to Medlands Beach, 4.1 kilometers, 2 hours walking time. None of these treks are flat. You go up and over the topography and down and across gullies and footbridges. Bring a lunch and water.

The ride up is a tour. We see split apple rock, shags on the rocks and cormorants in the trees.

The Old Man and the Sea
The old lady and the sea?
split apple rock
Pied shags on the rock
 We have met two interesting couples. Pete and Sue live in Reno and have a house and a boat in Tahoe at Zephyr Cove. He will be going back to work for a few weeks, then they are headed to Uruguay. Pete says you stay at ranches there. They know many of the Sierra Nevada Hospital nurses. Spells retired doctor to me, but I had never met them. They will be doing a different hike from the one we are doing. Sue leads hikes in the Sierras. Perhaps they are a few years younger than us.

The other couple are from the North Island of New Zealand. They were just taking the boat ride as a tour out and back, no trekking. He is a semi-retired farmer. He still keeps some sheep that he cares for during lambing and he does his own shearing. He says really sheep should be sheared every 8 months , but he only shears once a year. They have 900 acres in bush, a number of woodlots and the pasture for the sheep. The lawn takes 8 hours to mow every 10 days. They travel extensively to the USA and Europe. Someone else must mow when they are gone. They looked more or less our age. It is hard to tell ages.

There are pine plantations on the edge of the park. The Department of Conservation, of whom we saw no one, works to keep the invading pines out by injecting any they find with a herbicide. The pine is a cross between a Monterey pine and a Knobcone pine that grow twice as fast in New Zealand as they do in the USA. They are harvestable in 30 years. We see a few spotty dead pine trees in park land. They are trying to maintain a natural New Zealand bush.

The park was established in 1942. There were private homesteads along the coast at the bays and the park boundary was just drawn around them.

We pass Adele Island and are told there are some kiwis remaining on this island.
Adele Island
Two Oyster Catchers trot down the beach at Tonga Quarry. I remember seeing one in Alaska. We were told it was uncommon to see them in Alaska.
Can't see the bright red-orange long beaks of these oyster catchers
We see a few fur seals resting on the rocks on Tonga Island. One sits up for the kayakers.

We take the boat all the way to Totaranui. According to the pamphlet there is a large campground here with a resident park ranger!

On the way back we get off at Tonga Quarry. This was the site of a granite quarry from 1900-1910. The campsite is now on the site of the old quarry buildings. We see large granite blocks on the beach.
good-bye boat
Tonga Quarry Camp
We will head to Bark Bay. Medlands Beach is another half hour further.
Sign on base remaining of an old quarry building
I saw so many different ferns, plants unknown to me and a one needle pine with odd cones. We heard birds occasionally, but they were elusive and we saw none.
starting out
we had trudged up a long hill to get here
This fern is white on the underside
strange fern
I can see the sea out there. Looks far away.
William is still full of tricks as he climbs up on this giant red beech that has fallen over a gorge.
There were a couple of benches on the way. We ate lunch sitting on a natural stone bench.
Flowers on the "one needle pine"
There was a footbridge across the stream below this waterfall.
Picking my way down with the aid of my trusty walking stick.
A soft rain starts near the end of our trek. Hardly enough to bother about. We arrive at Medlands Beach about one half hour before the boat is due back and spend the time standing under a tree. We made pretty good time, since we stopped for lunch and spent time taking pictures.
Near the end of the tramp
Medlands Beach is just around the corner
A last fern picture as we wait
On the boat ride back I finished my pear and cookie, napped on William and watched the DVD pictures about the park. The boat windows were all steamed up and you could not even see out.

We hopped off on the beach and I found three lovely shells. I am saving them.
Off the boat and a walk across the beach. Must be near low tide.
my three shells

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