I'm reminded of this when the hunter gatherer and I take our boat across the width of Tasman Bay to Abel Tasman National Park in April earlier this year. The park is the home of one of New Zealand's Great Walks, the Abel Tasman Coast Track.
It was Easter 1989 when I first walked the track with a group of friends. Looking back and comparing those faded photos with the views in 2015, the landscape has changed not at all. Despite carrying all our gear and having to put up tents every night and cook over a fire, it looked like paradise in 1989 and it looks like paradise 26 years on.
|aptly named Sandfly Bay- base for a camping and kayaking expedition|
Twice since that initial trip I've returned - another camping trip, but this time kayaking along the coast, and another kayaking/walking trip where we enjoyed the luxury of a hot shower and cosy bed every night. That's the biggest change over the years - the development and abundance of tourism providers plying all manner of accommodations, walking, boating, kayaking and combinations thereof.
Day trips or multi day adventures across golden beaches and through beautiful native bush
make for a memorable experience, particularly for the mostly European tourists we met. We
had no need of huts or campsites as we were at home on the boat, but were pleased to see
the Department of Conservation huts very well maintained and the campsites equally as tidy.
We wiled away a few days walking, finding off-track gems like the idyllic Cleopatra's Pool, a natural swimming pool set amongst huge boulders made smooth by the years of river flow.
|Cleopatra's pool - this must be Mark Antony|
Tidal estuaries snake up river valleys and we take the dinghy to explore these too, finding ourselves under swing bridges that carry walkers across the rivers. At low tide walkers can cross the sandy expanse, shortening the trip.