Saturday, 16 November 2013

Day 15. The Coastal Track

-Warning Photo Heavy Post!-

Unlike yesterday today started with an early start so I could catch the bus to Marahau, George and Axel decided they wanted to head back to Nelson instead of exploring the National Park. Catching the bus was simple enough, and then it was a typical kiwi affair getting everyone on the right boats- meaning it was laid back, completely unorganised with lots of jokes being thrown about.
We did eventually get everyone onto the right boats and then it was back out to the National Park. Even though I'd obviously seen most of the coast from the water yesterday it was such a beautiful day, and a beautiful coastline wouldn't have minded seeing it a couple of time. 

I jumped off at Bark Bay, possibly one of the most beautiful beaches (I think), and then had to try and find my track. Nothing was labeled and no one else was doing the walk with me - probably because it's the longest walk offered unless you want to do the full coastal Track which takes 3-4days. 
I'd have happily stayed here for a while but I wasn't sure how long the walk would take me and I didn't want to miss my boat at Anchorage at 4:00. The start of the track was deceptively easy with nothing more than a gentle incline and stunning views back over the bay at nearly every turn. The track was definitely easing me into gently!

I don't think I'll ever get over how clear and pretty the water is here in New Zealand 

I'd say the first half an hour of the walk was the easiest and probably one of the prettiest sections too as the bush was lush but relatively thin so you got the best of both worlds; topical foliage and stunning ocean views. 
In New Zealand they're pretty big on trying to remove introduced species and encouraging native animals, and they've decided the best option is to kill the foreign animals which the native birds can't compete with. Generally this is possums, rats, stoats and mice. I saw alot of these boxes along the walk, they're placed every 100-120 metres throughout the entire national park. 
A weird growth-fungus-y looking thing 

 The first detour of the day
 After a quick detour from the path I got to Medlands, a tidal bay that was still half underwater when I got there (I got there towards the end of high tide)
It was referred to as a tidal lagoon by the skippers, and all I can say was the water felt like a bath is was so warm - needless to say i stopped here for longer than originally planned!
 And not long after I got back on the path came the second detour - South Head
 The 5 minute estimate wasn't entirely accurate. It took me about 15 minutes but the poor couple behind me took over half an hour to get to the top! This was the easiest part, most of it was more climbing over boulders than actually walking, and there wasn't a single view along the way as the bush was too dense
It was definitely worth the detour though as once I got to the top the view was stunning!
Despite my doubts I did this detour too.. I didn't get any photos of the bay itself though as sadly it lives up to it's name all too well - Sandfly Bay. Pretty much as soon as I got down there there were flies everywhere, and I was bitten quite enough in Marlborough so I made a quick exit out of there!
I did get some photos from the track though as it was really beautiful 
I loved how every time you, eventually, got up another steep incline you were usually rewarded with some sort of beautiful view, even if it was just a glimpse.
The legendary swing bridge over Falls River- I'm not scared of heights but I wasn't too keen to linger in the middle of this monster as it definitely rocked more than I was expecting!
(it doesn't even look that long in the photo... it felt longer!)
The view from the bridge was pretty gorgeous though

One of my favourite 'rewards', perhaps because I only saw this after a particularly hard up-hill stretch

I was incredibly glad to see this little sign for Halfway Pool! Partly because it meant I was making good time and I was half way, but also because the pool was icy cold and I couldn't wait to have a quick swim to cool down!
it was really deep but because it was so clear you just can't tell - I couldn't touch the bottom even when I swam down!
The bush seemed to change noticably every hour or so which was really nice as not only did it provide different things to look at but it made you feel like you really were making progress!
Had to take a picture of this stream i passed over
My last glimpse of the sea before doing the inland section 
The inland section of the track reminded me alot of te Blue mountains in Australia - which isn't particularly surprising I guess
Instead of coastal views, now when I reached the top of the path I got an ocean of trees!
This part inparticular brought back memories of OZ! 
And after a very long, hot and dry stretch I finally sighted Torrent Bay
Here the path sort of just faded into the beach 
I obviously had a go...
 Torrent Bay, my view while I munched on my sandwiches for lunch. I knew I was only 1-2 hours away from Anchorage and I still had plenty of time so I settled down here for a while as it was much quieter than Anchorage, it's a tidal bay meaning boats can't get in to do drop offs nor picks up after noon so form then onwards it's almost deserted.

 I keep meaning to find out the name of these little critters as they make the funniest noise
 The best time to cross Torrent Bay is low tide as you can cut across, otherwise you have to do a track around the bay which adds an extra hour or so 
 The hidden danger
Obviously because the tide had just gone out the sand was wet, but what I didn't realise was what looks like a lovely sandy area is actually covered in sharp mussel shells...
And guess who forgot to pack her flip-flops?
Long story short, my shoes are ruined as my feet couldn't take more than 10 minutes on the shells!
 Shells everywhere!
Low tide left the place looking like a different planet, simply stunning
The giant granite cliffs that enclose the bay 
Looking back from the far side of the bay 

Anchorage bay had an almost orange sort of sand providing the perfect contrast to the water

 And this is basically how I spent the next two hours of my life after the walk, attempting to dry out my shoes while sketching, daydreaming and soaking up the sun 

I think in total I covered about 15km so about 9 miles, and apart from a particular section after the bridge (I was walking up a 60 degree incline for over an hour) it was so much fun! 
I was the only person walking my way but I did see a fair few people walking from Anchorage up, and everyone said hi and smiled - I'm assuming the kiwi spirit rubbed off. The sights were gorgeous and the weather was pretty perfect, sunny and hot at the start and then gradually getting slightly cloudier towards the end. Although by the time I got to Anchorage it was still sunbathing weather so it didn't get that much cooler!

I'm so glad I did the walk rather than go back to Nelson a day earlier. I've just caught the bus back to Nelson and we're staying at a different hostel, this one actually seemed really nice, it's small and it's attached to a pub which lends it a completely different atmosphere.

Tomorrow's plan is to find a coffee shop, plan the west coast, and generally get lots of bits and pieces sorted and organised.

P.S I have all my results back from Semester B, I got AAB which I'm pretty happy considering two were third year papers and one was history!

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