Abel Tasman

March 5, 2012 by Jeramie

I’ve loved Charlie Chaplin ever since seeing the portrait hung in the hall of our High School (I cringe to say) decades ago. That being said, trying to watch Modern Times, wrapped under a blanket late at night after a long day of hiking does not bode well. Prior to the night’s send off we visited Rawhiti Cave (“wh” is pronounced “f”, so ra-fiddy), an estimated 1 million years old. One of the most impressive caves I’ve ever seen, with over a MILLION stalactites ranging in size from a pencil to a VW bug. 100 years ago they ran tours up to the cave where they would feed guests calcite tea made from the water falling from the stalactites. But in the 1920’s an earthquake caused part of the cave to collapse scaring off tourists, and forcing closed the company who guided them. Now the only people who get there trudge up the steep hillside through the jungle, which left us their alone to enjoy the sights and sounds.

After the caves we started the drive out the peninsula to the famed Abel Tasman National Park. What we didn’t realize was that some time “recently” many of the roads in the area had been washed out. The only road leading where we wanted to go had been completely washed out, but that was still many kilometers ahead of the sign that warned us. We decided to venture toward our goal anyway and see how far we could get. It turns out that every 75 meters or so the downhill side lane of the road had collapsed. Leaving drivers to telepathically communicate whether someone is approaching as you use the oncoming lane. We passed through unscathed, arrived at the Abel Tasman beach and trekked along it out to Taupo Point, where a Maori historical plaque sits depicting the isthmus in 1844, with european settlers already influencing the area. The most astonishing sight though, were the countless millions of mussels attached to the rocks along nearly the entire coast. Note to self, always bring water capable storage when hiking the coastlines here.

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