Before I begin today’s post I want to do some updates to yesterday. Here are a couple of photos of the Meadowbank Homestead where we stayed last night.
The cover of the brochure for this trip says it is a civilized adventure. That is an understatement. It was luxurious – both the place we stayed and the food we were served.
Today I learned that the estuary (the one that came almost up to our waists) that we crossed yesterday was not 500 m. across. It was much closer to between 1300 m and 1500 m. That’s almost 3/4 of a mile. No wonder it seemed to take us so long. And I also realized that it was not just that I was stepping into deeper and deeper parts of it. The reason the water was coming up so high was because the tide was coming in. That is why the women behind were in water up to their waists. You can see where we crossed the estuary towards the back of this photo.
I also learned that the winds we experienced when we were on the boat yesterday we’re over 30 knots per hour. I guess that is only about 34 1/2 mph. They do not always experience those swells but no wonder we were bouncing around so much.
When we woke up this morning it was raining pretty hard. We thought we were going to be in for hiking and a very rainy day. Then after a delicious breakfast (we each had a choice of what we wanted to eat and I had poached eggs with bacon), the rain had stopped and it was sunny again. This was the 2nd day that we were lucky to have great weather.
Some of us gathered on the lawn. The 3 people to the right of me and I were getting ready to go on the hike today.
We were told that the waves were still going to be too high for the people who wanted to kayak. We left behind all the rest of the people who were doing the five-day trip. They would just be walking around the Homestead area and spending the night in the same place.
Since non of our bags arrived because the waves were too high for the boat to get there, A.J again carried my CPAP. We weren’t going to cross anymore estuaries so I wore my boots.
Today was the day of undulating hills. I read that there is no place in the area of Tasman National Park where we hiked that is higher than 200 m. But that didn’t take into account that we would hike up and down and up and down. Actually, it wasn’t too difficult but 18 + km felt like a long way.
We sure saw many beautiful sights and learned about several new plants that I have never seen before. I paid much more attention to what I saw here than I ever do at home.
This is a cabbage tree flower.
The place we started yesterday (Totarunai) and the beaches where I waded in the bays of the Tasman Sea can be seen along the edge of the land in the back of this photo.
A.J. told us that it take 2 weeks for the fronds of this fern to fully unfurl.
I think this is the flower of a flax plant. It was used to make ropes that were very strong.
A.J.showed us the design from the Maori people’s oars that’s her friend created for the edge of this bridge.
We walked pretty far before lunch today at Bark Bay. We had to get to the place where Darcy and Lynne could catch the boat because they were leaving today.
These Wekas hung around the lunch spot. I think some of the other people who were eating here had fed them. Of course that is really a bad idea.
Every time we came to a view of the water, we were astounded by the color.
Here ia am standing in this fabulous scenery.
This plant is called Giant Moss. It doesn’t really look like moss to me. It can grow to a height of 60 cm.
This is a view of the giant moss in A.J’s hand.
This is a Rimu plant. The male version of the plant is spiky and the female version is smooth.
I think that A.J. said that the male version is large enough to use it as a comb for your hair.
This is the trunk of a Beech Tree. It is black because it is covered with Sooty Mold. The female Scale Beetle burrows in between the mold and the tree bark. It eats nutrients from the tree and the mold and then poops out pure sugar (honey-dew). The sugar is at the end of the tail which is sticking out of the tree. It is actually a good relationship because the honeydew gives nutrients back to the tree so there is no harm done.
I know this is not the greatest photo, but you may be able to see the tiny hair-like things. If you actually touch them, you harm the Scale Beetle so we just had to flick the end of it. We could get the drop of liquid on our finger and taste the sweetness.
This is a tui The tui is an endemic passerine bird of New Zealand. A passerine is any bird of the order Passeriformes, which includes more than half of all bird species. It is one of the largest members of the diverse honey eater family. The name Tui is from the Māori name Tūī and is the species’ formal common name.
This is the flower of the Manuka. Manuka grows into a shrub or small tree, varying in height up to 8 metres. The narrow, pointy leaves are prickly and have a nice, sharp perfume when crushed. It is also known as a Teatree because it is used to make tea. Captain Cook actually made beer out of it and is said that it saved his crew from scurvy. . Manuka oil has anti-worm, anti-bacterial and insecticidal properties and is sold in New Zealand and many other countries. Manuka honey is a very old remedy for bacterial infections and is a very popular honey.
I don’t actually remember seeing a Kanuka tree. It has similar properties to the Manuka. Its flowers are in clusters rather than single flowers. Like its relation manuka, kanuka’s hard red wood was widely used by Maori for anything from paddles, weapons, spade blades, weeders, bird spears, mauls to house building. The bark was used for making water containers and the inner bark as a waterproof layer for roofing. Kanuka is also a first class firewood and was also used by early settlers for tool handles and fencing.
Like manuka, kanuka oil was used by Maori and is now sold in New Zealand and other countries as Teatree oil for its anti-worm, anti-bacterial and insecticidal properties. Maori also used pounded kanuka seed capsules to make a poultice (dressing) for running sores.
There were actually drop-offs on the side of some of our trail but they did not pose problems for us. Here is A.J. on the trail.
Sometimes we walked along wonderful rock walls.
Here are a couple of California Quail. small, plump introduced game birds. They are common in open scrublands throughout most of the country. The male has a striking black face bordered with white, and a conspicuous top-knot or plume. The female is duller in colour with a less obvious plume.
There are over 200 species of tree ferns growing in New Zealand. These tree ferns can grow up to 20 meters high.
We weren’t sure what this pink stuff was, but it was cool to see.
This is a Lancewood Tree.
We saw them at many stages of growth. The trunk grows straight and strong. I think I have this story straight. When a child was born, the Maori people would plant a tree. When it grew to be the right height for an adult, they would cut it off and carve the symbols of their tribe onto it and then give it to the child when s/he became an adult.
At one point we crossed this swinging suspension bridge. I think it was the most fun for me because I am not afraid of heights.
Here is one of the views from the swing bridge.
The views of the water continued to amaze us.
As we came close to Torrent Bay, A.J. explained that the tide was out so the whole bay was sand because the tide was out.
It would be full of water by morning.
Today’s walk was over 18 km. We walked from Awaroa over the Tonga Saddle to Torrent Bay. i was very tired when we arrived. This was our home for the night.
I must have also been very hungry because I ate a whole steak for dinner and topped it off with key lime pie. What a day.