Abel Tasman Park, in the northwest of NZ's South Island, is accessible from a number of points, one of which is a town called Marahau 60km from Nelson City. There's a coastal walk that leads from the Wainui at the tip all the way back to Marahau which takes about 3 days to complete. Some day I'm going to do that. But for now we were content to do a half-day walk, facilitated by Aquataxi. More like a bus service these guys will take you to one of 5 or 6 points along the coastal walk, and pick you up from another. The walks are all well maintained and marked. It couldn't be easier.
When we set off from Bark Bay, with a 7.7km walk to Torrent Bay, Nina was in bullish mood. "This is too easy!" she insisted. The trail was mostly covered by the canopy of the trees above us, but it did follow the coast and climb up above it too. Every now and then we could look out over the water, or down to an inlet, and curse the fact that you didn't pack your swimmers - or to hell with swimmers, at least a towel! One hour later, when the gradient had asserted itself a little, Nina's attitude had changed: "Why does the trail have to go UP?", she asked in pained tones. Where do you start with a question like that? Poor Nina and Sara. We've calculated that since we left Cork, they have hiked around 75km. Those are real hikes, not including city walks and general traipsing around. They have both had plenty of practice of hiking in Cork, and plenty of notice about what might await them on this trip.
Why does the trail have to go up?
Oh my wonderful little Nina, the trail will go up, and the trail will go down. And sometimes it will wind around on the level for so long that you will forget that you are even on a journey. And at the moment when it gets really tough you might be surprised by a stupendous view afforded only to those who put in the effort. The trail goes up because that's what the trail does. And when it goes down, it goes down because it already went up. Make your peace with the fact that sometimes it will be harder than others, and that all you have to do is keep putting one foot in front of the other and know that sooner or later, it will get better. We all know that the good stuff doesn't last, but not even the bad stuff does.
On a less chocolate-box philosophy note: The temperature has improved tremendously - enough so that Letizia was able to sleep without her beanie! There's an unconscionable and irresistable provocation if ever there were one.