Abel Tasmen & Some Hippie Hostel
Abel Tasmen is the name of the Dutch explorer who found New Zealand. It is also the name of a beautiful national park.
I am now on the Stray bus. I joined on with them in Picton. Basically the company runs a guided tour company around New Zealand. It is a hop on hop off bus service with various routes around the country. The route I chose is minimum 15 days. Every night they stop at random hostels around the country. Some places they stay 2 nights. If you particularly enjoy a stop, you can stay more nights and catch another bus a couple days later. I plan to stop 5 or so nights in Queenstown so this tour of the southern island will probably take me 20 or so days.
Anyway… back to Abel Tasmen. My goal was to wake up early and rent a kayak. You can’t sue anyone in this country so as a result there are loads of rules. They wouldn’t let me rent a kayak on my own so I bailed on kayaking.
Instead me and this Canadian took a water taxi along the cost for about 20 kilometers. We got off and slowly walked back to our hostel at the park entrance.
The Abel Tasman National Park is best known for its secluded beaches and clear blue water. There is a trail that runs along the whole coast in the park that traverses lush rain forests and white sandy beaches.
Some parts of the trail go through tidal pools where at high tide the trail is impassible (they have an alternate path). It was almost high tide, but we decided to hike it anyway. Parts of the walk I had to carry my bag above my head since the water was nearly up to my chin. I have video but no photos.
In the afternoon we stopped at the beach, played music, and drank beers. Around 5 oclock, we decided to head back to the hostel. According to the map the hostel 12 km or roughly 4 hours of walking. We made it back by 7:35.
The next day (Tuesday I think – Im losing track of time) we drove further south along the western coast. The western coast of New Zealand is basically a temperate rain forest. They considered filming Jurassic Park here but because of logistics they chose
We stopped multiple times to view a variety of landscapes; seals, pancake rocks, blow holes, dramatic beaches, and dense jungles.
Our accommodation for the night was great. It is an old hippie commune converted into a hostel. It consists of various small huts scattered over several acres of dense lush rain forest. Each hut is connected by a series of pathway. Eighth minutes down a path is a beach.
The hut themselves are a combination of modern and 1960’s decor. The walls of each hostel room are covered in psychedelic bird paintings. The roof is one big skylight. The beds are all pushed up against the wall with a communal sitting arrangement in the middle. It’s bizarre but comforting.
New Zealand is a weird place in general. It draws people from all backgrounds. Though they all have one thing in common – they love nature. 18 to 30 year olds are granted a work visa that allows them to come to New Zealand for up to one year to work. This is only granted once in your lifetime. So twenty somethings come here and WOOF (working on organic farms). WOOF is an organization where you can work for accommodation and food and maybe some money. Activities include cleaning hostels, picking grapes, cleaning stables, etc. So you have these people that go from farm to farm working their way through New Zealand. You work about 4 hrs a day and have the rest of the time free. Where as the US has Mexicans, New Zealand has twenty somethings from Europe. Its bizarre but people love it. Of course there are the others like me who just travel. But the people that WOOF, tend to be young free spirited hippies. One guy we met last night promoted living off the land and surrendering all your money back the the community. New Zealand really draws some freaks.