Cruisin' the Abel Tasman...

One of the main reasons for coming this way was to see something of Golden Bay and the Abel Tasman National Park. The delays I've experienced mean I don't have time for the ride out to Collingwood on Golden Bay, but I do have time for a visit the fabulous coastline of the national park.

Kaiteriteri, the departure point for the water taxi services, is just a short bus ride from Motueka through the fertile Riwaka Valley, where apple orchards stretch to the foot of the mountains. The bus arrived just as the annual Kaiteriteri Marathon was about to start, and the waterfront was alive with runners and  spectators.

The water taxi is more of a water bus really, it is a good sized vessel that can carry several hundred people, and it operates to a regular timetable of stops in many of the bays along the coastline. The beaches and hills are dotted with "baches", many of which have no roads and rely on the water taxis for access.

It wasn't long before reaching the the first scenic wonder, Split Apple Rock.

The taxi continued along the coastline, slowing as it passed an island where seals lazed on the rocky shore, and stopping in several bays to pick up or set down people heading to sea kayaking or tramping adventures. I got off at Awaroa and spent a couple of pleasant hours wandering along the beach and having lunch at the cafe of the lodge tucked away in secluded corner of the bay.

Trampers can take a shortcut across this inlet at low tide, but at high tide it's a much longer walk to go around it.

There are no jetties at any of the beaches. The water taxis have a long gangplank that unfolds to reach up the beach.

After lunch I returned to the beach and boarded the water taxi for the return cruise to Kaiteriteri and bus back to the holiday park. It had been and interesting and relaxing day.

Back in my cabin I checked the Lone Star Farms page for an update on the status of the Rainbow Road. According to the latest update, the road will not now be open until late in the week, presumably just in time for the Rainbow Rage race next Saturday. This is a problem for me as I was planning to cross early in the week. I would have to do quite a bit of backtracking to reach St Arnaud and I'm reluctant to do it and then discover that the road is not passable, and I can't sit around and wait then have to compete with the racers for accommodation (most is already booked out) at St Arnaud and at Hanmer Springs.

So I've reluctantly decided to abandon the crossing of the Rainbow Road and to continue around the top of the island instead. Finding the end of the Rainbow will have to wait for another time.

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