A Travellerspoint blog

New Zealand: Sea Kayaking Abel Tasman NP, Day One

More than just sea gulls and rocks...

Our next stop on the New Zealand leg of the trip was three days of sea kayaking in Abel Tasman National Park. It was nearing the end of the season so only trips with lodge accommodation were available. Damn the bad luck...

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Our trip started with an hour or so ride on a water taxi to get to the north end of the park. Abel Tasman has tides of over 5 meters each day, so the local water taxi companies have to get creative. Basically we all loaded into the boat while it was still on the trailer and a tractor hauled us out into the estuary until they could float the boat off.

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An hour or so later we were dropped off in the Awaroa Estuary. Our itinerary had us going further north, but we happened to be there for one of the highest tides of the year and our guide Kyle wanted to take advantage of it to get far back into the estuary.

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After loading up the boats, we headed off for a long day of paddling back into the estuary. Along the way we saw old cabins and steam engines from the time when the european settlers were trying to farm and harvest timber in this area.

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At one point we even saw a sailboat that had made it high into the estuary. Did I mention it was a very high tide?

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Then we paddled into the Awaroa Lodge's beach landing. It was quite a busy spot with a number of water taxis picking up and dropping off people, but once the evening arrived, it was a calm beautiful location.

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That evening, after a wonderful curry dinner, our guide told us the story of how the park's namesake first saw New Zealand. Abel Tasman was a Dutch explorer who was the first European to sight New Zealand in 1642. He attempted to land, but due to major misunderstandings between the Europeans and the Maori, several Maori and several Dutch were killed and Abel Tasman sailed off. He gave New Zealand its name, but it wasn't until Captain James Cook arrived in 1769 that Europeans stood on the beach.

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Our guide also showed us how to make puti puti, which are traditional Maori decorations made from a local flax plant. It was a fun exercise for us all.

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Posted by TravelWithTom 22:05 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

New Zealand: Maruia Springs

Starting Our Holiday With a Spa Day

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Well friends and followers, we are off on another adventure. We are headed back from Australia to start a new phase of our life in San Francisco and we will be taking a few weeks to make the transit across the pacific. No point in getting home before our bed arrives... Expect to hear about our adventures in New Zealand and Vanuatu over the next few weeks.

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As we are starting this vacation after a few crazy weeks of ending jobs, selling cars, and loading everything we own into a sea container, we decided to start this vacation with a relaxing spa day. After a day of traveling over the Tasman Sea and driving through the mountains of the South Island, we showed up at the Mariua Springs Thermal Spa Resort

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The thermal springs have been used for bathing for over 100 years, but in the last twenty they have been owned by a japanese couple who bought the place because it reminded them of the thermal springs in their home country. They have been gradually converting the place into a wonderful rustic Japanese spa, restaurant and hotel.

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We donned our Yukatas (casual kimonos) and set out to see all the place had to offer. A few hours after arriving we were much more relaxed. Its amazing what a Shiatsu massage, a ofuro bath and a soak in a thermal pool can do for you.

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That evening we settled into the on site resturant for a wonderful traditional Japanese dinner. We slept well that night in the cool quiet of the New Zealand highlands. All in all a wonderful experience.

Posted by TravelWithTom 01:48 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Leaving Australia

Hi Friends,

For those of you that followed my old Travellin' With Tom Blog, I have decided to move to the traveller's point platform. Its just much easier to use. I know I haven't written much in the last year or so, but now that we are going to embark on another journey I thought it might be time to fire it up again. We are headed back from Oz on April 7th, by way of New Zealand and Vanuatu. We will see what the internet connectivity is like out there, but hopefully I will be able to share some of those travels with all of you. As they say... "news to follow"...

Tom

Posted by TravelWithTom 03:31 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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