Thursday, May 15, 2008

Abel Tasman National Park: Mutton Cove to Awaroa Lodge

We woke up this morning ready for some exercise after last night's meal. First we had breakfast (more deliciousness) in the extra large chairs in the dining room. There are about 8 of these super-sized chairs which were built before the lodge was built. The staff say that the lodge was built around the chairs.

Here I am on the deck of our room, enjoying the morning sun:

At the recommendation of a staff member at the lodge, we caught the 10.30am water taxi up to Mutton Cove, an area of the park much farther north than most people go. The plan was to walk south back to Awaroa Beach (where the lodge is located), making sure to arrive at Awaroa Inlet before 2pm. The time constraint of 2pm was due to the tide schedule, since you have to make sure to cross the estuary within two hours of low tide, which was at noon today. Mutton Cove was deserted and beautiful and belonged to us for a few minutes:

The walk south took about three hours and meandered in and out of the bush, popping out every so often at a cove or bay with golden sand and crystal clear water. Because it is the low season here, there were very few walkers out and about, though we hear it is popular in summer.

We made good use of our newish water/hiking shoes that we bought before the trip. They have a good sole with tread (like a hiking shoe), but the sides are made of mesh and dry out quickly, so you can immerse them in water without worry.

We arrived at the estuary for the crossing with fifteen minutes to spare. Luckily the water was pretty shallow. Once on the other side, we ate our picnic lunches that the lodge packed for us at Awaroa Hut, where many trampers stay on their way north or south. It was another 30 minutes back through the wetlands to the lodge from there. A beautiful and memorable day!

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