Sunday, January 31, 2016

New Zealand 2016 Day 20. Hiking in the Abel Tasman National Park

Today we did the prettiest hike of our trip. It was not spectacular like the others we have made, it was just pretty. The Abel Tasman National Park is developed on a deeply weathered pluton, whose sides have been carved by the ocean into a half dozen of beautiful, perfect bays, and the hike goes all along the steep coastal slopes, along the 100 to 200 m contour lines for about 50 km. We did the first 12.5 km to Anchorage Bay and back, so this is the longest hike we have done as well.

The trail is pretty even, shielded from the sun by the luxuriant vegetation, and has fantastic views of the coast, the Cook Strait, and the Marlborough Sound. In contrast with the Tasman Sea, with its strong westerly winds, the Cook Strait is well protected by the Golden Bay peninsula and has pleasant slack water. The water is crystalline and has a deep blue hue.

After 3 hours of “hiking” (more like strolling, rally) we arrived to Anchorage Bay, where we had a refreshing swim and ate the munchies we had brought with us. It is a paradise bay that only lacks a small seafood shack like the ones found in the bays of Mexico to make it perfect.

The way back was another perfect stroll, and at the end of it was a conveniently located pub where we rewarded ourselves with a pint of cold beer. Ah…

A short drive brought us to the small town of Motueka, where we completed our Kiwi education by having a traditional Friday dinner of Fish and Chips, here pronounced “Fush ‘n Chups”. Now that I think about it, changing “i” into “u” is a minor peculiarity of Kiwi English. The really big change is pronouncing all “e” as “ee”, so they say “yees” instead of “yes” or “peet” instead of “pet”. It is a small thing, but it forces you to be on the alert when they talk to you (which they do all the time, because they are one of the friendliest folks I have ever met).  

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