After a good night’s sleep in a very quiet campground, we were up early enough to see the sunrise over the ocean and beach. There were no clouds in the sky which didn’t make for great sunrise photos, but gave us an optomistic outlook for the day.
We started hiking just before 7:30 AM, when the shadows were long. Our plan was to do a loop hike-walk for a while on the Abel Tasman Coast Track and then take the Gibbs Hill Track back to our car at the campground. As you might imagine, the walk along the coast was spectacular! Sometimes we were up high on the cliffs above the water looking down on pristine beaches and rocky outcroppings. Other times the trail went down so we could walk on those beaches (3 all together). We had the first two beaches to ourselves and there was a family at the far end of the third beach. The two young boys in the family were trying to dam up a small creek that flowed into the ocean. It reminded me of the many hikes and canoe trips where Tucker and Corey would spend hours trying to do the same thing!
After turning away from the beaches, we had a steady climb up to the top of Gibbs Hill, enjoying the views off both sides of the hill top. The hike down the hill was quite steep, but slow and steady got us down. We rewarded ourselves by eating our PB&J’s on a picnic table in the sun overlooking the campground beach. All together we hiked 18.5k, or 11.5 miles- a good morning’s work!
Then we started driving and we drove for the next 4.5 hours, with a stop for groceries and gas. We retraced our steps until we got to the town of Motueka, where we started to go west a bit. We drove clear to the west coast of the South Island, where only 1% of the NZ population lives. We are in the Westport Top Ten Holiday Park, enjoying their kitchen and Internet facilities. Here’s an interesting fact that may impact our time in this area: Westport has an annual rainfall average of 5 meters!!!! But it wasn’t raining when we arrived and we even saw a few peaks of the sun.
Before dinner we took a walk across the street to the beach where the waves of the Tasman Sea were rolling onto the beach. This beach has very fine back sand and when we walked, we were sinking into the sand an inch or two. It was very different. The beach is littered with very large trees that have washed up, demonstrating the power of the surf in this area. Also, the shore line was quite eroded away, with the root systems of the shoreline trees half washed away!