Saturday, March 30, 2013


I skydived for the first time at Skydive Abel Tasman.
I had signed up for the 13,000ft jump but once I was there... I changed my mind and went for the 16,500ft jump.
It was me, 2 other jumpers, our 3 tandem masters and 2 camera guys (for the other jumpers).
We were crammed into a tiny plane.
The other people on my jump. They were fun. I'm practicing for my free fall.

At about 10k ft we put on O2 masks.
My tandem master was awesome! He talked me through each step and totally put me at ease. I wasn't nervous at all, just really excited!
From the plane I could see all of Abel Tasman, Farewell Spit and the Tasman Sea.
When it was time to jump we edged to the open door and I curled my legs out and under the plane as I got hurled out of the plane.
I got the free-fall butterfly tummy for about 2 seconds.
The rest of the time I was trying to take it all in and breathe.
No, seriously, it was really hard to breathe! So much air rushing at you when you're falling at 120 miles an hour.
It was really cold too. And because I still have a cold my ears were hurting a bit.
But who cares!??!

For an awesome 70 seconds, I was free falling.
Then the parachute was open and we did spins and loops till my legs hurt from the force of the harness cutting into them.
Then one last loop and turn and we were back on the ground.
It all happened so fast and it felt really surreal.
Abel Tasman park in the top left, Motueka town in the center

I wish I had been able to afford the video/photo package. I watched the videos of the people I jumped with and they looked amazing. Although the girl did hurl on the way down. Lucky for everyone she did it in a barf bag. Hahaha.

Such an amazing experience.
I spent the next 5 hours laughing and smiling.
2 hours later, driving to the west coast in my house. My cheeks hurt.

Now I just need to find a way to make some money and jump again....
3 hours later. What a weirdo!
Already scheming to have another jump

Friday, March 29, 2013

Abel Tasman Coastal Track

I really wanted to do the Abel Tasman coastal track, another one of the nine Great Walks in NZ.
Coastline of Abel Tasman

It took a bit for me to figure out the logistics for it, but I finally did and had such an amazing time.
There are 2 parts of the track that can only be done during low tide and then I had to figure out transportation but it was all pretty straight forward. I decided I only had 3 days to spend walking it, so I did miss the end section of the walk, which woulda been my fourth day. But it wouldn't be hard to come back and do that part when I have more time.
Seals playing at Tonga island on the taxi to the start of the trail

I took a water taxi to my starting point in Totaranui and did 12.5k (7.75mi) to my campsite at Tonga Quarry.
Totaranui beach

Leaving Totaranui

It was a nice first day but unfortunately the head cold I had been trying to will away hit me with full force.
Leaving Totaranui

Goat Bay
So what should have been a nice easy stroll took a bit more effort on my part. This was the day that I made the two tidal restricted crossings.
Crossing Awaroa estuary at low tide

So I had a bit of a time restraint, but I made it with no problem and got to my awesome campsite with plenty of daylight left.
Onetahuti Beach

Onetahuti beach

 I cooked dinner on the beach and in the 2 minute lapse between thinking I needed bug spray and actually spraying it on - those wicked, little, black bitey bastards ate me alive.
Tonga Quarry: Home sweet home 

On the beach at Tonga Quarry

It was a full moon night. And the moonrise was spectacular.
Moonrise from my camping beach. So many pics. I couldn't choose just one. 

So many moon pics
Would you say I have a plethora of moon photos?


I hit the trail midmorning and set in for my long day, 16.5k (10.25mi)

 I was still feeling my cold and this day was the longest and the hardest day of my trek.

Bark Bay

Bark bay

Bark Bay

Bark Bay

The trail

But the scenery was so beautiful, it completely distracted me. The hours really seemed to fly by.

Suspension bridge over Falls River

Except maybe the last hour. By that time I was done.

My camp for the second night was at Anchorage. A massive site, with a hut and all kinds of people. It wasn't too bad though. I didn't have to boil my water and there were flush toilets, which are always nice. Plus, my cold had me so wiped out. I was asleep by 6pm and I slept in till 8am in spite of my bug bites and sinus headache.
Anchorage bay: morning 3

Anchorage Bay the third morning

The last day was an easy, breezy 12.4k (7.7mi). It was a quick uphill hike to some beautiful vistas
and a few quick side trips down to the beaches.
Akertson Bay

The day before had been overcast but my third day the sun was out and really lighting up the ocean in all it's vivid blues and greens.
Apple Tree Bay

I took my time and relaxed at the beach.
Apple tree Bay

By the time I was back at my car I was really excited to be done walking.
I feel so lucky to have been able to do this hike. If I had the chance, I would definitely kayak this track. The coast and beaches are definitely the highlights of the walk and I would love to see more of them.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Goodbye North Island- it's South Island Time!

So long Wellington

Oh man!
I love the South Island!
I crossed the Cook Straight on the ferry and am so excited to be in a new part of  NZ.
On the inter-island ferry

I drove west across the top part of the north island. From Picton to a little town somehwhere between Takaka and Collingwood. I'm not sure where. I was so tired. I just kinda pulled into a holiday park in a daze.
My first night on South Island

And that's where I saw my first penguin!
There he was, just chilling. I think I blinded him while trying to take my photos. So I tried to get a pic without using my flash. Not that successful.
Penguin!!!! I'm so excited! Bucket list: check!

Cute little guy!

The next day I drove to Farewell Spit and spent the whole day hiking. The hike was great and had a little bit of everything.

View on the hike

I was the only one on the beach

Beach view from inside the cave

I don't know who this Cliff guy is....but he's got some great views....

The landscape was so varied, pastureland, cliffs, beach, mountainy scrubland.
Cape Farewell

The cliffs with farewell spit in the far background. I gotta little too much sun 

It's  one of my favorite places in NZ. I hiked to Farewell Cape, the northernmost part of South Island.

The dunes at Farewell spit

It's an Immense white sand beach

I'm all camped up and cozy now at another holiday park. This time in Collingwood. Tomorrow I hope to settle the logistics for my 3 day Abel Tasman park hike.
Camp time: cool clouds at sunset