Sharing The Peapod's Travel Adventures...

Mindy's Birthday in Nelson....

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This entry was posted on 1/21/2007 11:33 PM and is filed under New Zealand.

Mindy's New Zealand birthday was celebrated by exploring the Abel Tasman National Park.  The way you get into the Park is to drive from Nelson just a little over an hour to where the road ends.  Then book a seat on a Marahau Water Taxi.  These boats are hooked up to tractors which are necessary because of the fluctuating tides.  There are absolutely the coolest tides here in Nelson.  When the tide is low, it goes out for almost a mile so the tractor takes you all the way to the water driving on the low tide sandbank.  At this time of year the difference between high and low tides is 4.8 meters (15ft.9in. - about a 2 story building)!

When we arrived it was high tide so the tractor just backed up a little bit down a ramp and dropped us into the water.

The water taxi took us past "Split Apple Rock" which has become the symbol of New Zealand in all of their tourist ads.

We continued 45 minutes up the coast to "Anchorage Landing" in Torrent Bay where the boat let us off.  We took off our shoes and waded into shore.

The bay only had a few boats anchored in it.  During busy times as many as 60 boats may be anchored here.  Two of these boats are permanently anchored all year long.  They're known as "backpacker boats" and you can rent a bed on the boat and spend some time in the Bay.  If you don't have money to do this you can stay in one of the huts on the shore where they provide mattresses and bathroom facilities for camping.  All over New Zealand there are wonderful facilities for backpackers.

The first person we met on the shore was a delightful Austrian woman named "Aloe" (pronounced Ah-loo-aye).  She was a gift of light and love and she taught us a terrific lesson about living in the present moment and being in the flow of life's offerings.  We had a memorable short but sweet time with her - one that we will always remember.

From Torrent Bay we began our walk back to Marahau.  The signs said that it was 4 hours back, but with our leisurely gait and our many stops, we managed to turn it into a 6 hour experience.

There were many glades we passed through where the sound of the cicadas was almost deafening.  These insects covered all of the trees.  The cicadas (or whatever they were) were about 1.5 inches long and this is what they looked like...

We passed by countless deserted golden sand bays and the views were breathtaking. 

Here's a panorama view of what we saw from the top of the trail...

We couldn't resist a skinny dip in the Tasman Sea.  Here's Mindy in her birthday suit...

We saw some unusual sea birds...

These beautiful birds were called "Oyster Catchers"...pause on the photo a moment to watch it change...

This was an interesting sign posted at the beach...A reminder to "Count Your Cockles".

At the end of our hike when we drove away from Abel Tasman Park the tide had completely receded.  It was astounding to see how far out it had gone because when we had arrived this morning, the entire bay was filled to the top with water.


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