« Two wonderful days at Abel Tasman - Day 1Fulfilled dream at Marlborough Sound »

Two wonderful days at Abel Tasman - Day 2

Added: May 16, 2010

Tags: NewZealand RTW beach cliffs photos
Our stay at Abel Tasman was nicely enhanced by wonderful place we stayed at - Shambhala in Onekaka. It was completely different to all other places we have been to till now. Beautiful surroundings enhanced by peaceful atmosphere, about 4km from "civilization" by private (terrible) road.

After our arrival I was a bit suspicious of many long haired people around and the presence of meditation room, but it turned out it was not lair of some sect as a paranoid me suspected :-)

Whole New Zealand tries to be ecological, but this place uses solar energy, collects rain water and has composting lavatory and trees for men :-)

Missing TV only added to its charm. And the night sky was even more beautiful than we could see at Mt. John Observatory. All in all, if I returned to Abel Tasman I would like to stay at this place again.

Near Collingwood

Our first stop today was in Collingwood. We were interested in finding some good restaurant, because Mussel Inn near Shambhala we dinned at yesterday provides only steaks, but Zuzka is not fan of them. No luck.

We checked out the beach, but we did not like it, because it was not clean. Let's move on.

Place between Onekaka and Collingwood (I cannot localize more precisely). Water was clear, but there was strong tidal current filling nearby "lake".

Beach at Collingwood.
Beach at Collingwood


Farewell Spit

Farewell Spit is very narrow and long peninsula at the top of Abel Tasman. It is covered by sand dunes and one part has very nice name - Gobi Desert.

The first part of walk was conveniently in shade of big trees. Or we decided to go that way. We were walking on beach covered in thousands of clams. They were cracking at every steps. If we passed this place million times we would probably created fresh sand.

Nearby water was shallow, smelly, ideal for birds to feed themselves.


A woman collecting something.

A bird doing the same.

Crossing Gobi Desert

We were standing at crossroads to Fossil Point when Peter decided we should continue with our walk in the same direction. We will go to Fossil Point on our route back.

Not a bad idea, until you realize it is not possible to cross through dense prickly bushes, high grass and other nasty surprises for exposed legs. We decided we did not want walk to the end if Spit so we looked for every opportunity to cross. We found it about 500m later. It was not ideal, but we passed without any scratches.

We happened to find real desert. Everywhere we looked were sand dunes, nothing else was in sight. Sand was warm, ideal for bare feet.




Gobi Desert, Farewell Spit, Abel Tasman, New Zealand

Fine, we are not only people lost at this place.

It really looked like a desert and we had only one bottle of water per person!

It took some time of walking before we could see the sea again. But it took another considerable amount of time to get to beach again. Like a fatamorgana, even this was not one.





It was pretty hot, we did not want to spend much time finding our way back so we decided to follow tracks of tourist buses. They should lead us back to tourist information centre.

We left lot of footprints in the wet sand. I hope they will be preserved so archaeologists will puzzle after 5000 years what kind of gigantic worm that small tribe of hunters was tracking :-)

Special driving rules for sheep

Shortly before we returned to tourist information office we could see a herd of sheep going to water hole. To my surprise they went along right side of road, not on left side. Apparently they have an exception in driving rules...


sheep at watering hole

Wharariki Beach

It was high time to see some proper beach again. Wharariki Beach should satisfy our longing.

It is about 6km from Farewell Spit and then 20 minutes walking in between small hills. Whole walk is very nice. It is not exactly Hobbiton, but we liked it too.



Amazing scenery.



Finally we could see the sandy beach and the sea. Cliffs around promised even nicer sights. Hot sand was nicely shaped by wind and grass provided a nice foreground for photos.

I have tested water immediately. It was shallow, but I just wanted to refresh in it. Proper swimming can wait until we explore whole place.


Wharariki beach, Abel Tasman


Wharariki beach, Abel Tasman


The cliffs and islands at Wharariki Beach are gorgeous. I could stay there whole day taking photos if I had time. It would not be only about taking photos, swimming here is also fantastic. At one time a penguin swam near to us. We have seen also seals or sea lions (who can distinguish them?) nearby, but I took photo only from distance and surprisingly they did not wait 2 hours until we get back, bummer.

Water is pretty shallow here. We found only one place where it was reaching to the neck, but just moving 5m and it got shallower again. On the other hand the waves were pretty big, so we did not go more than about 100m from shore.


Archway Islands
Archway Islands, Wharariki beach, Abel Tasman

It is not easy to create a panorama if it contains surf in foreground. Moving waves and foam makes it hard to stitch together. If it is not prominent or you were lucky it will fit together easily with only a few touch ups needed in editor, but sometimes it is not possible.
This panorama of Archway Islands was stitched from 1 row of 3 photos and the stitching error is not very bad. But I made also 3x3 panorama I failed to finish due to huge discrepancies in foreground surf. I still get sad when I remember this potential 80MPix panorama I am not able to edit to look well.
Panorama of Archway Islands, Wharariki beach

It was getting late, our stomachs started to ask for some filler so we decided to go. Sun got down, colours were accentuated and shadows longer so it was not easy decision. Even the sheep grazing at hills were more colourful (as well as my imaginations of lamb dish I would enjoy).

We found nice restaurant in style of old school (I don't remember where it was, somewhere near Collingwood). I had the best pizza in my life there (to be fair, I don't eat pizza often).

Wharariki beach in evening, Abel Tasman

Wharariki beach in evening, Abel Tasman