Ka Pai Island – Part 4

“On a Mish” #245 Ka Pai Island (Part 4). Anapai Campsite. Abel Tasman National Park. 19.1.2021. Abel Janszoon Tasman briefly visited Aotearoa in 1642, and even though his visit was cut short by bloodshed, I’m sure he enjoyed the scenery! Abel Tasman’s unfortunate encounter with Ngati Tumatakokiri Maori will always leave him second best to Captain James Cook when discussing the European discovery of New Zealand. Luckily his multi ocean crossing effort wasn’t in vain as one of New Zealand’s most beautiful national parks now bears his name. Even though the park is the smallest of all national parks in the country, it has some of the most spectacular bush-clad beaches in Aotearoa…

Just before Christmas my sister and nephew had walked the parks ‘Great Walk’, and their recollection of the remote beaches of golden sand made the place sound like paradise. They were very lucky to hike the track not only without rain, but also everyday was nothing but sunshine. The day after they finished their hike the area was hit with very heavy rain, and the remote beaches would have been a lot less inviting. As we were spending our time in Pohara Beach, Golden Bay with seasoned visitors to the area, we were never bored. After the success of trips to the Anatoki Salmon Farm, and Wharariki Beach at Cape Farewell, we had set the adventure bar high, and were excited to see what was next. While enjoying our dinner at the Mosley Compound we discussed the option of going for a hike near Totaranui. Early-ish the next day I woke to the sound of rain on my tent and dark clouds overhead. You only live once so we weren’t going to let a little precipitation spoil our day, so look out Abel Tasman National Park here we come! I had heard of Totaranui before, and the camping ground in this little slice of paradise is famous for selling out each summer within an hour of it going online. Totaranui is also the start/finish point for the Great Walk and my nephew Benji was keen to show his old uncle the hike he had done – and I hadn’t. Apart from using a boat, the only way to get to Totaranui is via the many turns of the gravel road over Pigeon Saddle.

On our trip the road claimed another travel sickness victim, with a very green looking Sarah taking a roadside break just outside of Totaranui. We hiked north from the campground on the Pukatea Track, and even though it was raining the track was busy with other hikers. The easy going, well cut track leads to the golden sands of Anapai Beach, which also serves as a very cool campsite. After sheltering in the trees for about ten minutes the clouds cleared just like a few days earlier at Ananoki, and we enjoyed a brief break in the weather while having a picnic lunch. Just as we were preparing to walk back more dark clouds rolled in, and once again we were hiking in the rain. Like most rain forests, it’s best to see the place in the rain, which certainly didn’t dull any of the incredible scenery in Abel Tasman National Park!

Anapai Beach

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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