mr. tasman’s got a sweet ass

I arrived into Donna’s and Colin’s house on Friday after a two hour trip from Picton. their house is amazing! they live in a very old house that used to be home of the owner of all the land surrounding it… it’s got very tall ceilings and lots of colours, and the distribution is the following: one “wash room” which includes bathtub and sink, three bedrooms, living room, kitchen and a toilet outside next to the laundry area… they have a big field where they usually plant stuff, three cows, cocks, cats and a small dog… they have three children (18, 21, 23) and one granddaughter… they are a beautiful family and made me feel at home immediately!

next morning Sian, Donna’s daughter, took me for a walk around Nelson. we went to a market similar to the one Gareth took me to in Auckland… and I met a Mexican woman that had a Mexican food stand, and I was scandalized to hear her say to everyone “sweet ass”!!! WHAAAAT?! (costumer: “I want a chicken burrito, please”… she: “chicken burrito… sure, sweet ass!”) I thought she had taken her kiwi personality really serious, how could she possibly go saying that to everyone?!??? and those who know me know I would never be shocked by something like that, but I honestly thought she was exaggerating… then I learned that it’s not ASS, it’s -AS… so when you say SWEET-AS you are actually saying COOL or AWESOME… not NICE BUT or whatever…
anyways… that morning I had an email from Susanna, so after Sian left to go do her stuff, I walked around Nelson going to the touristic places trying to find Susanna (she does not have a kiwi number)… after a long search and trying to go to places to check my email, she rang from her German number and we met at the iSite (if you come to NZ, the iSite is a great option to know what to do/see/eat/etc everywhere you go!), there we booked a shuttle to go to Marahau, an aqua taxi to get to Totaranui, a bed to spend the night in Bark Bay Hut, and a shuttle back to Nelson (Richmond in my case)… let me explain: we were going tramping in Abel Tasman Park for two days!!!

Donna lent me a sleeping bag and a smaller backpack, and the next morning she prepared me breakfast and took me to where the shuttle was picking me up… after a little less that two hours we arrived to Marahau and took the aqua taxi, it’s not a cheap way of getting to the end (or beginning, depending how you see it) of the track, but at least they give you a little tour in the different bays the park has.

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we arrived in Totaranui at around 11 am, and started the track with a new German girl we met in the aqua taxi (I’m beginning to think that there are NO Germans in Germany, they are all here…), her name is Karin.

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Karin was going to stay her first night at the Awaroa Bay Hut because she was doing a four day track. the tricky part of doing the Abel Tasman in two days is that you need to hit the low-tide hours in order to cross certain parts of the track, and for that you have something like four hours… so you really need to be checking the time and your timing so you don’t miss things like your booked night in a hut or the shuttle back to Nelson… we managed to get everywhere with the low-tide! we had a good break in Awaroa, with lunch and all (tuna sandwich), took some great pictures, left Karin behind, and continued until getting to Bark Bay which is right on the middle of the track.

here you can see the hi-tide/low-tide thing I was talking about... it's the same place, first photo taken from the aqua taxi, second photo taken walking...

here you can see the hi-tide/low-tide thing I was talking about… it’s the same place, first photo taken from the aqua taxi, second photo taken walking…

Awaroa Bay

Awaroa Bay

Awaroa Bay

Awaroa Bay

Tonga Bay

Tonga Bay

I think we did something like seven hours with breaks and all… not bad, I think…

the huts on the tracks in NZ are pretty cool… I think none of them have cooking facilities and showers… they do have a BYO cooking table, toilets with paper (thank god), and huge rooms with bunk beds where lots of people can spoon together if they wish to do so… since Susanna and I apparently took forever to get there, we had to take the only two free spaces on the upper bed that were not even together… so in other of appearance from left to right we had: German guy – German guy – me (Mexican) – 50 y/o lady (probably German) – and Susanna (German)… at nightfall (around 8 pm) we were ALL asleep!

next day we woke up as early as we could, we went out of the hut to see the sunrise:

Bark Bay

Bark Bay

then started our tramping back to Marahau at around 8 am.

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what we will be doing today...

what we will be doing today…

we stopped on Torrent Bay Village to have breakfast (Nutella sandwiches – yum!!!) and there were the two German guys that slept on our bunk the night before so we started talking to them (now that we had literally slept together), and it turned out that one of them had a car and was traveling south through the West Coast and then to Christchurch through Arthur’s Pass, which was convenient because that was exactly what I wanted to do next. I asked him if he would like some company and to split petrol (gas) costs, and he said yes! he wanted to go to Golden Bay for one day, so that would give me enough time to go back to Nelson, pack, and apply for the working holiday visa that will be released on the 26 at 10 am… perfect timing!!!

the rest of the track was amazing, and since we started very early we were able to go on our own pace, taking more breaks with more tuna sandwiches, stopping to take pictures, etc… simply lovely! we got to the beginning of the track (or the end, depending how you see it) at around 4 pm… so eight hours on the second day…

Bark Bay

Bark Bay

Sandy Bay

Sandy Bay

Sandy Bay

Sandy Bay

here’s the map and profile of the coast track… I’ve pointed out the beginning, the sleep and the end… here you can get a general idea of how much we walked…

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the Abel Tasman is something people should do if they come to New Zealand, every single part of the track was as beautiful as the one we had passed before, simply breathtaking!!! if I could do it again I would stay more days for sure, one more day at least… I was not able to rest or to do any activity in two days, I just had to run to get to the hut and then run to get to the shuttle… I wouldn’t stay in Bark Bay Hut, apparently it’s the busiest one because it’s the one right on the middle of the track (not to mention there are only three huts in the whole park), so I would try to camp somewhere else if I had the gear… and if I had the money, I would definitely do some kayaking…

ok… so back in Nelson, and getting ready to go through the West Coast with my new friend Thomas!