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Two wonderful days at Abel Tasman - Day 1

Added: May 09, 2010

Tags: NewZealand RTW beach photos waterfalls
During our round the world trip we looked forward to 3 places with fantastic beaches. We slept over Bondi Beach in Sydney more than 2 weeks ago and Copacabana or Ipanema in Rio de Janeiro will have to wait for another month. But beaches at Abel Tasman are here and today!

It was not only about fantastic beaches here, but also weather is usually sunny and hot here. After 2 weeks of rain, clouds and occasional fair weather we really hoped this place will show us what a good weather looks like.

But it did not look very promising as we were getting close. Since morning there were many clouds in the sky. And they did not scatter. Contrary, when we were climbing winding road to Takaka Hill we could see thick clouds everywhere around. My hope was over.

But then, when we got on to the other side of hill, we could see thin band of blue in distance. We could see also some sandy beach ahead. Are they close enough? Will clouds pass before we get there? A slight taste of hope returned.

Wainui Falls

We stopped at parking lot about 40min of walking from Wainui Falls. It turned to be sunny after all and quite a hot.

We optimistically plunged into forest, following a path leading to falls. It was forest, but different to what we have seen in Fjordland. It was not wet. Tree ferns were everywhere. And then we found wonderful stream passing through the valley. It was deep, green and masterfully decorated with big nice boulders.

I am not sure how we could get to falls in only 36 minutes with all that shooting. I expected it will take us at least twice time needed. I guess time for taking photos is already incorporated into time estimate.

Tree ferns in forest.


This swinging bridge caused local traffic jam, because we met big group of people there and only 1 person can cross it at time.
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We were rewarded for deciding to come here with wonderful view. Wainui Falls is beautiful, set in nice surroundings. It is quite small, but that is not a problem.

Again, we spent some time here in a queue to get into good position to take photos. It was bit tricky to get good panorama with all that dynamic contrast present with shinning water and shadows.

I wonder how cold the water was. We were not brave enough to try it (that's planned later at Karekare Falls).

Panorama of Wainui Falls

On our way back we went to find one geocache Peter had in his plan. From all geocaches I "assisted" Peter with this one was the most adventurous. It was off main trail, going into forest. It felt like Indiana Jones going through jungle to get some artefact, only without machetes.

Then we got to that nice stream I mentioned before. But it was quite wide here. We tried to cross it, jumping from rock to rock until we got to dead end where our will to stay dry was stronger than our desire to find the geocache. We repeated the same experiment at other locations downstream and upstream, but without success. Well, if the adventures were so easy everybody would be adventurer, wouldn't be? :-)

After this failure I changed my efforts to better match my abilities and started to take photos of foliage.

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Totaranui Beach

A road leading to Totaranui Beach was the worst we have been to without security and comfort of 4WD. It is about 10km on narrow gravel road. Huge clouds of dirt behind us were not enjoyed by car behind us. And when we spotted similar cloud ahead we knew somebody is going in opposite direction. There were suspiciously many cars leaving place we wanted to get to. Maybe that label "camp - no vacancy" really meant something. Fortunately we needed just to park anywhere for a few hours.

Finally we got there. We parked under big trees a few hundred metres from the beach. I can only say it was worth of dirtying whole car (especially rented car). I have not seen many beaches before, because it is not my style of holiday and but this was amazing. Orange sand, dark blue water. It was clean, not very cold. But the most important thing was this place was not overcrowded. I thought there will be many more people around. Maybe that gravel road works for this purpose really well.

With only a few people near our spot I did not have any trouble to hide my camera into bag under a hat and go to enjoy water without worrying about camera much.

Totaranui Beach

Totaranui Beach



Anapai Beach

Just around the corner is another wonderful beach. We could walk there from Totaranui beach, but we decided to use local water taxi. The first one stopping close to us went the other way. The second told us he goes there only in the morning, but then smelling money he changed his mind, and took us there. He had shown us where the path back to Totaranui starts and left.

Compared to Totaranui I was slightly disappointed. Sand was not clean, many broken clams were there and water was not clean either. But we came there to see beautiful rock formations and we were satisfied.

That's the way to get back to Totaranui Beach.

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Anapai Beach

Panorama of Anapai Beach

We satisfied our aesthetic needs and spent some time swimming. It was time to get back.

The path in the forest goes up the hill. It is about 30 minutes or slightly longer, I did not measure it. There are a few good places with nice outlook. Then you start to descent until you reach wetland. It is only short way to beach from there.