Here at Pohara we are parked beside a dinky little van named Dora, loving painted and decorated with flowers by her owner. We had 4zees with a group of campers including Dora’s owner yesterday, but sadly her name escapes us. But we remember that she is from the Wairarapa, lives in a lifestyle village rather like our own, and we have friends in common!
Pretty little Dora
Today was a great day to do some more sight-seeing, not quite as hot and sticky as the previous day. We had decided to visit Totaranui, because we had never been there before. Our trip started with driving through a hole hacked out of the rock right here in Pohara, and then we were on our way.
We reached the end of the sealed road and turned onto a 10km wiggly unsealed road to take us down to Totaranui on the coast.
There is a huge DOC campground at Totaranui, which is on the edge of the mighty Abel Tasman National Park. The place was teeming with walkers, all keen to walk the tracks throughout the park. Outside the DOC office we saw a group of them all getting instructions.
Crowds of campers were milling about down on the beach, ready to board the water taxis and get on their way. Most of them looked young and fit, but there was a sprinkling of older trampers there too.
Views of the beach
Inside the DOC office, we read about Perrine Moncrieff, the founder of the Abel Tasman National Park. She wanted to save this pristine area from the loggers, and the MP for Nelson presented the case to Parliament. 1942 was the anniversary of Abel Tasman visit to New Zealand, the park was named in his honour and the Queen of the Netherlands was asked to be patron. And this marvelous piece of the country was saved for everyone to enjoy.
Back in the car we went, up the hill, and took the other unpaved road down to Awaroa Bay. This was a bit hair-raising when a huge truck sped towards us on the narrow road. We backed over to the side of the road as the truck drove past, with inches to spare.
Awaroa Bay has two claims to fame. The beautiful private beach in the Abel Tasman Park was put up for sale, “Best beach on the planet on the market for two million dollars”, said the headline. Adam Gardner and Duane Major, a couple of good Kiwi blokes, weren’t going to stand by and let that happen, so they set up a Give-a-little page. The public got behind them, as did other big players, and the money was raised to purchase the beach. We couldn’t walk on the very special white sand beach as it was across the estuary, but zoomed in for a photo.
Our special beach, now owned by all
The bay is also home to the endangered pateke (brown teal) and young captive bred juvenile birds have been released here in the hope that they will thrive and mate. These birds are being closely monitored as there are only about 2000 birds left in the wild.
We continued our slow drive back over the hill, and stopped at Tata Beach while we ate our picnic lunch in the sun. The beach was busy, with swimmers and kayakers, others sunbathing, or walking along the sand.
There was a memorial mosaic bench on the beach, made in the memory of a young woman who had passed away, by four friends. It really was a work of art and incorporated commercial tiles, together with mosaics made from pottery, glass and beads.
In memory of Kelly
Yurts as holiday homes
Lastly, we stopped off at Liger Bay (Named by Abel Tasman as Murderers Bay) to view the Abel Tasman Monument. We were entertained by the antics of a cheeky weka as we walked up the path.
The flightless weka
View over Liger Bay
Then it was just a short drive back to Pohara, back through the hole in the rock –maybe it looks different from this side. It was great to see parts of the country we hadn’t traveled to before.
Coming back through
Another beautiful sunset