9 November, Thursday. A beautiful day; cloudless, cool air, hot sun. We drive the ten minutes to Wainui Bay, the start of the Abel Tasman Track at the eastern end of Golden Bay, with plans to hike up to Gibbs Hill for a fantastic bay overlook. In New Zealand, a hike is a “tramp,” and a trail is a “track.” The lovely winding 3km track has the sea on one side and the lush mountainside bush on the other — ponga (giant fern trees), gorse and native plants. In 45 minutes we go from sea level to 180 meters high, to a saddle. The track stays along the west face of the hill, and so in the morning much of it is gratefully in the shade. Nushka, an old friend, comes up behind us in her mountain bike, heading up to the saddle then down the other side to Wharawhariki (“farafariki” — “wh” in Maori is pronounced “f,” from the Olde English) Beach for a swim, then back. We, on the other hand, from the saddle will follow the spine of the hill up higher, another 3km, to 282 meters high Gibbs Hill, for the view.
At every outer turn of the track there is a more all-encompassing view. At first we see just Wainui Bay, a smaller bay within Golden Bay. The beach off to the left is Wainui Spit:
From a little higher up, (Cris heading down), the embracing cliffs surrounding Wainui Bay take shape. A corner of Wainui Spit again is in the lower left:
Nearer the top, all of Golden Bay comes into view. The distant shore, the other side of Golden Bay, about 20 miles (35km) away. Wainui Bay and Spit are small bits in the middle of the picture now. Farewell Spit, which defines Golden Bay arches off to the right way beyond the picture:
On the way home we stop in and see our friends Neville and Debby and have some wonderful home roasted espresso with fresh, whole, unhomogenized, unpasteurized, raw A2 milk, with yummy homemade ANZAC biscuits. We share good jokes and look forward to swimming together soon.
On arriving home, we find the Shrecks at our gate,
and then a lovely sunset.