Saturday, October 14, 2017

Kahurangi National Park


Kahurangi lies on the north western corner of the South Island not far from our bach in Ngatimoti. So we decided it was definitely somewhere we wanted to visit whilst we were in the area. It is the second largest National Park in New Zealand and contains the most diverse flora and fauna of any of the National Parks. It is also one of the ones which is slightly less visited and we discovered why when trying to reach the car park.


Since we were not far from Motueka we entered the Park through the entrance near the Motueka river. Following the signs leads you to an unmade road and signs that warn you of steep slopes and dangerous driving conditions after rain. They also have these rather terrifying notices showing steep slopes and cars almost falling off the road. Very stern signs also warn of not attempting the road unless you have a 4x4.

As you climb through the mountain range the road does indeed get steeper and narrower and I began to worry about what exactly we would do if we met a car coming in the opposite direction! The idea of having to reverse down these precarious roads which were extremely narrow with steep drops on one side, did not appeal. Fifteen kilometres later, we emerged, very relieved, into a DOC carpark which was populated with several 4x4s and two very battered looking sedan cars. I have not idea how they made it up the road, since my own big 4x4 struggled on several of the slopes!


The rather traumatic drive is worth it to reach an untouched tropical rainforest in the clouds. I am sure the views would have been fantastic on a clearer day, but unfortunately we were walking through the clouds when we visited. This did however, provide an awesomely eerie atmosphere which really rather added to the whole experience.


We also met another very friendly Weka who was clearly used to being fed by many generous trampers.


We walked up through the forest to reach Aurthur's hut. A DOC hut which you can stay in overnight. It looks terrifically cosy and it must be amazing to wake up surrounded by wildlife and native forest. Its gone on our list of things to do next time!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Abel Tasman


The Abel Tasman is New Zealand's smallest National Park but I believe it must be one of the most visited. We have been here before and had already discovered just how breathtaking the beaches are in this area. So it was with no hesitation that we decided to visit again and complete another section of the coastal tracks that weave along from beach to beach.


The best and easiest method of reaching the tracks is by hoping on one of the ferries that go from Kaiteriteri and drop you at the beach of your request and will then pick you up from another beach later in the day. The ferries are frequent and give you an unrivalled view of the coast. The drivers of the ferry are also really informative (with a good sense of humour!) and took a detour during our trip as they spotted a school of dolphins. They also took us to view some seals on one of the outlying islands.


Although the tracks are well used you can still feel quite isolated at times and this allows you to meet the local wildlife. This Weka was clearly used to being fed by trampers.


He took a liking to our oaty bars and cheese sandwiches.


Bark bay was stunning on the day we crossed it and contains rather a nice looking DOC hut which we will remember next time and see if we can book!


It was even warm enough for a paddle.


It was a great location just to explore and mess around in whilst waiting for the ferry to come and pick us up,


I love the Abel Tasman and no doubt we will be back again one day. However, as with a lot of places increasingly in New Zealand, I wish it was a bit less popular. This makes me selfish and childish I suppose, I am just unwilling to share the outstanding natural beauty of this place with others. I worry that the large number of people visiting these areas is actually endangering them.

Apparently this is something that DOC (Department of Conservation) is also concerned about and are currently trying to develop a strategy that will still allow the country to benefit from the massive amount of Tourism that our natural beauty encourages but still manage to preserve these areas of national heritage and beauty for future generations.


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Ngatimoti


Term 3 is always the most difficult term of the year. Running through the end of winter and the start of Spring the weather is unpredictable and often a bit dark and rough. Towards October the weather begins to improve and by the time we reach the school holidays we are all exhausted and in desperate need of the sun.


So this year we decided to head to the South Island (going on the InterIslander is always fun and makes it feel like the start of the holidays)! We booked the beautiful bach shown above in a small hamlet about 25 minutes outside Motueka called Ngatimoti. The bach was right next to the river and I spent most of the week trying in vain to get a good picture of the Kingfishers that spent their time hunting in the river.


On the first day we headed to Motueka and found this wreak on the beach. It was actually purposefully beached when it reached the end of its life and now provided a rather good photography spot.


The wreak also provides a home for rather a lot of wildlife and I was really pleased when I managed to catch the Heron shown below.


Our bach was in a lovely location and once the sun came out it was the perfect spot for a cup of tea and a spot of bird watching.


Kaiteriteri was about half an hours drive away and had some beautiful beaches.



I was successful in catching pictures of the Tui's but unfortunately the Kingfisher remained elusive.


So I gave up and took pictures of the stunning scenery instead.