Old Mc Donald's Farm - Sunday, December 22, 2002

We made it to Abel Tasman National Park, famous for it's beautiful, calm beaches, protected coves, abundant wildlife, and one of the eight "Great Walks" in New Zealand. All the huts for this four day hike were booked up last year! NZ has an extensive hiking/hut system. Huts are strewn along most of the major hiking trails at comfortable mileage intervals. Huts have drinking water, a basic cooking area, and a big bunk area that sleeps from 6- 100). However, we were able to enjoy the beaches, coves, and estuaries without having to spend the night in the park. We chose to camp at Old Mc Donald's farm, a family farm that has been partially converted to a camping, cabin, and cafe facility, complete with llamas, sheep, cows, pigs, peacocks, etc. We found a beautiful spot next to the creek running through the property and enjoyed the afternoon sun.

The next day in anticipation of continued sunshine, we booked a catamaran sailing trip through the park. During low tide how did we get to our boat anchored in the bay? Well, a tractor towed an elevated trailer (compensating for high tide) across the tidal flats to an area deep enough to where our sailboat dingy could pick us up. Passengers taking water taxis to spots on the hiking trail, as well as kayakers, all begin their voyages on the tractors. It's really quite a site to see tractors 1/2 submerged in water.

Since we have bad karma with the weather, we were not that shocked when the weather didn't turn out to be sunny and beautiful for our extravagant yachting excursion! We still had a lovely trip with PLENTY of wind. OK, we basically froze our butts off! After passing several islands, we pulled into a beautiful estuary (only accessible in high tide) for a fabulous lunch. The trip was well worth it despite the weather.

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