Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Abel Tasman Great Walk - Day 1 Marahau to Torrent Bay

For Easter I did the Abel Tasman Coastal Walk with the WTMC tramp which was basically a 4 night 3 day tramping trip (the 4th day was basically a 90 min walk out to the road end and then a 5 hr drive back to Picton.

We got the ferry across to Picton on Thurs evening after work and from there we got driven to Marahau where we were camping for the night. It was about 1am before we got to Old MacDonalds Farm where we were due to set up camp for the night. Needless to say I was feeling pretty tired by this stage and wasn't too happy when I heard, after we'd unloaded all our gear from the mini bus, that we were camping 400 metres up the road. However, we got a great stroke of luck when the owner drove by and indicated that as we'd already we'd unloaded our gear maybe we'd like to use some tents that were already set up and that had some camp beds in them. Would we what? Eh, yeah!! These tents were huge and they had duvets and pillows! Oh yeah... me in my silk liner, in my sleeping bag and with duvet over me, I was toasty warm :)

Friday morning was a glorious day with lots of sun and no wind at all when we were setting off from Marahau. There were ten of us in the group and what really surprised me is that out of that 10 only one of us was a Kiwi (Mike) even though all of us live in Wellington! There were 2 Irish (myself and Dave), 1 English (Russ), 1 Scottish (Nicki), 2 American (Barry, Megan), 1 Canadian (Kate), 1 German (Kat) and one Dutch (Mark). How's that for an international tramp??!

The Start


While my pack was lighter than that of others it was still a definite big thing sitting on my back but it didn't cause too much trouble in the morning. We stopped for lunch on a gorgeous beach (one of many) though I can't actually remember which bay it was. I'm thinking possibly it was Stilwell Bay. We had a fairly leisurely break there was we wouldn't be able to make it across to the camp site at Torrent Bay from Anchorage until low tide; well we could but we definitely wanted to avoid the high tide route which was longer.

Me by lunch time on the first day


I have to be honest and say that after my lunch my shoulders were definitely starting to feel a little on the sore side... but having said that I wasn't the only one. The walk to Anchorage Hut was beautiful; the wonderful blue the sea, the beaches, the sun! Once there we topped up on the water front, had a break and then set out across the low tide crossing to our camp...

Beach Walking


The site at Torrent Bay was wonderfully small and basic... very few others were there so it was lovely and quiet. After setting up tents and flies, a few folk went for a walk and then we started prep on dinner. Dinner itself was a rather tasty tomato sauce with a mountain of vegetables and pasta sauce. As is the norm when tramping, you have to carry your rubbish out with you and that also applies to any leftovers. Consequently there was alot of encouragement to get the pasta and the sauce finished... at this stage we realised that Megan is very useful to have around when help is required to finish up leftover food! Some other useful things that I learnt that day are:
Don't use a down jacket to lift heavy things... it will melt (learnt this from Nicki who demonstrated this fact)
Chocolate hobnobs are the best... this discussion rose as we ate our dessert of tim tams and toffee pops. Again Nicki raised this but she was backed up by Russ on this.
You can get away with a smaller backpack when your sleeping mat is thing (a ground sheet in fact) and you don't have a sleeping bag (this was from Mark... no idea how he didn't freeze!)


The really weird things about tramping and camping once the clock has changed is that it always seems much later than it is. Yes, you (well me!) feel pretty tired after being out all day but it was dark by 7pm which really threw me off! However there was a beautiful full moon (at least I think it was full) so before heading to bed at about 8:30 a few of us headed down to the beach to just listen to the small waves lapping on the shore... that was the only noise.
Moon Watching


Anyway, I'll hopefully write a little more on the following days over the next while. More photos from the first day on www.flickr.com/eefa

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