Golden Bay Dec 2019

Like the last few years, I spent a week or so in Golden Bay with my family. This year, Simon and his family had a house in Tata beach and we spent a day out at Wharariki together and another one at Totaranui. I had forgotten how nice Wharariki can be. There was no wind and the longer we stayed the more sun came out. Simon and co left earlier and I walked around the beach taking photos and trying not to surprise seals. The drive back was nice too and I headed back to Tata beach for sausages with the Smalley’s. On the Totaranui day, Dad and I set off from Wainui in the kayaks. It was sunny but the wind was stronger than we liked. As the day wore on the wind dropped though until we had very favourable conditions for kayaking around Separation Point. We had a picnic lunch at Mutton Cove and kayaked the last bit to Totaranui where we met the others soon afterwards.

Before the Smalley’s arrived and before the nasty weather, Holly, Toby, and I spent a day climbing at Paines Ford and visiting the Wainui waterfall. I started that day with a small run up to the junction to Gibbs Hill.

I also spent a couple of days in Nelson catching up with Julian, and Georgia and Pat.

Time for some pictures.

View along the beach at Wainui (Golden Bay 2019)

Above: As has been the case for the last many years we spent some time up in Golden Bay in December 2019. We rented the same house in Wainui as has become a custom.

Climbing at Paynes Ford (Golden Bay 2019)Bro and Sis at the Wainui Waterfall (Golden Bay 2019)

Above left: Holly, Toby, and I went climbing for a few hours at Paines Ford. Mostly we just made funny faces. It was nice to be back on the rock for a few hours. Above right: Holly, Toby, and I went for a walk up to Wainui Falls.

Holly and a seal (Golden Bay 2019)

Above: Holly and I went out for a kayak to the arch near the Tata Islands and saw a few seals on the way.

A seal takes it easy (Golden Bay 2019)Cris out near the arch (Golden Bay 2019)

Above left: A seal taking a nap? Above right: Another selfie. I wore one of the aging life jackets that have been in the family since my childhood.

Mum washes up on the sandbar (Golden Bay 2019)Mountain biking in Nelson (Golden Bay 2019)

Above left: This is the view into Wainui Inlet from the air. Mum went for a kayak getting washed up on the sand bar. Above right: I went mountain biking in Nelson while I was there.

View of Wharariki beach (Golden Bay 2019)

Above: The rock formations around the beach are very funky.

View back towards Golden Bay (Golden Bay 2019)

Above: I stopped along the coast on my way back to Golden Bay from Wharariki.

Cris in a kayak (Golden Bay 2019)Kayaking to Totaranui (Golden Bay 2019)

Above left: Dad and I kayaked around the coast to Totaranui. Above right: The wind dropped and it turned into a hot and still day as we kayaked to Totaranui.

Dad and a seal (Golden Bay 2019)

Above: We saw lots of seals swimming and playing in the water as we paddled along the coast.

Sea kayaking Abel Tasman

Day 0:

On Sunday afternoon I set off from Christchurch towards Marahau. I drove into the evening until the road was empty of traffic and made it all the way to the Motueka valley where I camped the night.

Day 1:

I met Katie at the turn off to Marahau in the morning and we drove over the hill and got ourselves sorted out with a kayak. There was a bit of high cloud as we set off but it looking like it would clear and otherwise the weather was good. We headed into the park towards Watering Cove. Our campsite booking said we should stay the night there but as we had only paddled for less than 1.5 hours we decided to rebook the camp site in Onetahuti near Awaroa.

The conditions were good. It was now quite sunny with a small northerly head wind. We made good progress along the green coastline and it wasn’t too long before we got to Mosquito Bay for a break. The whole park seemed very small.

I set the gas cooker up on the sand and we drank a civilized cup of tea and went for a splash in the water.

Then it was on around the coast a bit further past Tonga Quarry to Onetahuti.

Happy Katie kayaking (Seakayaking Abel Tasman NP)

Above: Katie and I set off for three days of sea kayaking in the beautiful Abel Tasman National Park. The weather was good and the sea was flat.

Day 2:

I went for a walk around the track a bit, back towards Bark Bay while Katie snoozed. After lunch we headed off in the kayak for a quick nosey into Shag Harbour.

We then headed back to another little deserted beach and made another cup of tea. Basically this trip was all about drinking cups of tea in the sun.

Then it was back to Bark Bay where we got some filtered water before heading to Mosquito Bay for the evening.

Cris and Katie in shag harbour (Seakayaking Abel Tasman NP)Kayaking (Seakayaking Abel Tasman NP)

Above left: We headed up to shag harbour in the afternoon and caught it while the tide was in. Above right: We had rented a large tub of a kayak from Abel Tasman Kayaks. It was slow and heavy but allowed us to take far too much food, which suited us well.

Arriving at the beach (Seakayaking Abel Tasman NP)Mosquito Bay at night (Seakayaking Abel Tasman NP)

Above left: The kayak was so heavy we had to enlist the help of a couple of tourists to pull the boat up above the high tide mark at Mosquito Bay. Above right: We stayed one night at Mosquito Bay. It was clear and the sky was filled with stars.

Mosquito Bay (Seakayaking Abel Tasman NP)Mosquito Bay in the morning (Seakayaking Abel Tasman NP)

Above left: Mosquito Bay can only be reached by water so doesn’t have the hordes from the Abel Tasman track. Above right: We left Mosquito Bay on the third day and kayaked along the coast back to Marahau.

Kayak on the beach (Seakayaking Abel Tasman NP)
Above: The Abel Tasman is full of golden sand beaches and considering how beautiful it is, it’s surprisingly empty.

Day 3:

We cruised slowly back along the coast stopping in at Sandfly bay and kayaking up the river behind the large sand bar. We stopped in at Frenchman’s bay too and then at Te Pukatea for lunch.

After reaching Marahau we drove to Nelson Lakes and camped the night there.

Ferns (Seakayaking Abel Tasman NP)

Above: The bush on the Abel Tasman track is lush and full of bird song.

View Larger Topographic Map

Above: All going well, a map of the Abel Tasman. If I get around to it I’ll plot our course on it… Don’t hold your breath.

Waterfall Creek

Craig, Gina, and I drove from our camp site at Hang Dog to the Awaroa Inlet carpark in the morning. The plan was to go canyoning. We set off into some very dense bush, cunningly missing the walking track entirely. To save on extra gear I was bare chested and had the pleasure of scratching up my chest with all sorts of spiky, cutty things. After a while we found the real track and continued along near-ish the inlet heading inland. We reached the site of the old Awaroa school and after a little further we began to climb. It was perhaps a 300 m climb and then some denser bush bashing again and we were at the start of the canyon. The descent wasn’t difficult – lots of abseiling but that was about it. I did, however, manage to slip on a down-climb and land bum first on a pointy rock. The last third of the canyon was not so pleasant and I was pleased when we got back out to the car. Overall very nice though.

Walking in to the canyon (Waterfall Creek Canyoning)

Above: We headed off to do the waterfall creek canyon. This meant heading along the side of the Awaroa Inlet. Mostly we were above it but not this little section.

Gina abseiling (Canyoning Waterfall Creek)

Above: The canyon mostly consisted of down climbing and abseiling. Actually entirely as we didn’t do the slide.

Craig lowering himself down (Canyoning Waterfall Creek)Cris (Canyoning Waterfall Creek)

Above left: Abseiling is fun. Above right: Cris posing along the way.

Nice water (Canyoning Waterfall Creek)More nice water (Canyoning Waterfall Creek)

Above: Some nice looking water along the way.

Craig and Gina hanging out (Canyoning Waterfall Creek)

Above: Craig and Gina sorting out ropes after abseiling. Oh, wait we slid down this bit.

Heading back in the evening (Canyoning Waterfall Creek)

Above: We headed out in the evening, me with a sore bum.