The whole Able Tasman Great Walk thing is more organized and much more popular than I thought. I figured, in my innocence, that you'd book your hut space, start on the appropriate day, and march or die. I figured there were contingency plans for those that don't complete their march for whatever reason, in that you don't want bodies cluttering up the pristine scenery. People would end up marching together, and you'd see the same faces at the huts throughout your walk. I figured a few dozen people at most in any one place.
But that would be less than optimal. They've got it organized. One can walk various parts of it as a day trip. There is a water taxi, of all things. They run people up and down the coast, since there are no roads for almost all of it in Able Tasman. They've got regular routes, and people can arrange for drop off or pickup at established times and places. We just took the scenic tour, not wanting to get off the boat.
There are kayaks involved, many of them. I'm not sure if people kayak to a beach, do a bit of an out and back on a trail, or if they've worked out a way to kayak to a beach, walk to a different beach, then get a different kayak. A swap arrangement, as it were.
The scenery is spectacular!
1. This is out of order for what seems to be a good reason to me. There was other beach art as well.
2. From the water taxi service. This is Split Apple Rock.
3. Combination Driftwood of the Day, and a beach shot. All the beaches on the trail were busy. More kayaks than I've ever seen in one day before.
4. Another Driftwood of the Day from a distant view.
5. The Swing Bridge. I'm glad the panorama worked out. These are tricky when shot from a boat.
6. Holes in rocks seem to be a big thing here. No, the boat didn't go through. A kayak would barely fit.
7. The broody Able Tasman coast. Shot from a boat doing a zillion knots. Between froths of spray. I'm happy to get one shot out of that.
8. Shag harbour is this tiny little bay only open at high tide to the daring and careful. If you look carefully you can see a rock in the water beside the boat. We are close enough to the rock wall on the right to touch it with your elbow.
9. A different spit, the one growing out from Motueka. It's much nicer than Farewell Spit. I got a ton of driftwood photos there, and it was a nice walk.
10. The actual Driftwood of the Day.
11. Another view of the spit.
12. The obligatory artsy shot.
13. Found on the beach. There was also lots of driftwood sculpture.
14. We visited a rose garden on the way home. As you might imagine, there are more photos.
And yes, we are enjoying ourselves.