Flashpacking New Zealand with Stray – Days 9 & 10 – Abel Tasman

Coming in to Picton, New Zealand, on the ferry.

Coming in to Picton, New Zealand, on the ferry.

We rushed out far too early this morning to make sure we made the 8am ferry from Wellington to the south island.  There were five of us from the original bus, which I’ll refer to from here on out as Bus #1.  With the new passengers, we had a bit of a bridge in Lauren, a woman from London who’d been with us previously, had gotten off to surf in Raglan and then hopped on the bus behind us.

The way the buses work in the winter, they’re running a couple days apart all on the same circuit.  This makes it easy to plan meet ups down the road which is what we’re planning on doing when we all get to Queenstown.  During drinks last night, and again along our 3 hour ferry ride, Lauren helped break the ice between the people moving south from Bus #2 and the group from Bus #1.

A rock formation in Abel Tasman known as the "split apple" and used frequently by New Zealand tourism brochures.

A rock formation in Abel Tasman known as the "split apple" and used frequently by New Zealand tourism brochures.

The Ferry To Picton

The ferry ride itself wasn’t too bad with coffee, a movie and snacks on board.  Most of us were tired from the previous night but we managed to stay awake and brave the rain to get some pictures as we slowly made our way into Picton, the arrival town for the ferry.

We had a long drive to Abel Tasman National Park, and most people stuck to themselves or small groups along the way.  It wasn’t until we arrived at our accommodation that we finally got to know each other.  As people sat around the lounge in our small hostel, we were already arranged in a pretty big circle and did a bit of a name game to get the initial unknown out of the way.

I strongly recommend to everyone that you make sure the group gets to know each other as quickly as possible.  If the driver doesn’t take the reins and make you play some sort of game to introduce yourselves, try and make it happen the first night the group is together.  Those bonds will become stronger along the way and make for a better group environment for your tour.

The view of Tonga Bay from the walk in Abel Tasman National Park.

The view of Tonga Bay from the walk in Abel Tasman National Park.

Stray Day 10 – Abel Tasman

Finally, a beautiful day!  It was wonderful not to wake up to the sound of rain this morning as we all had outdoor activities planned in the park.  Sailing, kayaking and hiking are the main options, although if you’re there for 3-5 days you can do the full trek.  If you’re around in the summer, you can also opt to go swimming with seals.

I did an option with Aqua Taxi called “Seals and Sand”, which was recommended to me by one of the Stray folk back in Auckland.  As he had said, the tour covered the major sites to see from the water, including a stop at a seal colony, and then dropped us off at Tonga Bay for a four-hour walk before the boat picked us up at Anchorage Bay in the afternoon.

A pup belonging to the seal colony at Abel Tasman.

A pup belonging to the seal colony at Abel Tasman.

By all accounts, the portion of the walk we did covered some of the best parts of the full 3-5 day trek.  It really was a spectacular afternoon, shifting from pristine beaches to waterfalls to sub-tropical jungle and back during the day.  The rain came for a brief spell right as we stopped for lunch and was gone again when we resumed the walk, making for a beautiful day out.

Stayed at Abel Tasman again this evening.  With not much to do and everyone exhausted from taking advantage of the first day of nice weather in a while, we mostly ate, talked and crashed at our own pace.

Accomodation: The Barn
Activity: Abel Tasman – “Seals and Sand”

Go back and read about what happened the previous day or find out what happened next.

The above is posted from the road during the middle of a month long trip through New Zealand with Stray.  If you don’t know who stray is, read the intro to the trip with stray or check out their website.

In an attempt to give you an idea of what the trip is like I’ll be posting like I was writing a journal, but with some practical information in case you want to follow in my footsteps.

DISCLOSURE: I HAVE RECEIVED A DISCOUNTED TOUR PACKAGE  WITH STRAY BUT WILL MAINTAIN AN HONEST OUTLOOK AND PASS ALONG BOTH THE GOOD AND THE BAD AS ACCURATELY AS I CAN.