aving lived in New
Zealand my whole life, I
thought I’d seen all our
beautiful country had
to offer, but this theory was...
passing through his land.
Throughout our walk, he gives a
detailed history of the land and
it’s people, whilst pointing ou...
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Abel Tasman, New Zealand Fitness, June 2013


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Abel Tasman, New Zealand Fitness, June 2013

  1. 1. H aving lived in New Zealand my whole life, I thought I’d seen all our beautiful country had to offer, but this theory was proved wrong on a recent trip to the Nelson / Tasman region where I was left speechless by Abel Tasman’s natural beauty. This was my first visit to the park and it’s easy to see why thousands of people travel from all over the world to witness this stunning scenery! John and Lynette Wilson started their tourism business here in 1977 and can trace their family history all the way back to 1841 with Lynette’s great-great grandparents, the Newth’s and the Snow’s, being the first official British settlers here. There’s no better way to experience the wilderness of this park than with a walk, cruise or sea kayak with Wilson’s Abel Tasman. We opt for a three-day walk, allowing us enough time to really soak up the environment we’re exploring. Our guide John Glasgow, also has a close association with the park and can trace his family history back to his grandfather who settled in the area in the late 1890s. He’s one of New Zealand’s most experienced guides and takes great pride in showcasing this beautiful region – the park is literally his backyard with about 700 metres of coastal track BY SARAH WEEKS TRAVEL Trekking Abel Tasman the Golden sandy beaches, azure waters, playful seals and untouched greenery with the sweet sound of birdsong – these are the ingredients, that make up one of New Zealand’s best kept secrets, the Abel Tasman National Park. no better way to Sarah Weeks and fiancé Craig Wrightson at Abel Tasman National Park Meadowbank Homestead, Awaroa 60 NEWZEALANDFITNESS,June/July2013
  2. 2. passing through his land. Throughout our walk, he gives a detailed history of the land and it’s people, whilst pointing out interesting flora and fauna along the way – things we would’ve never noticed had it not been for his wealth of knowledge. Wilsons Abel Tasman offers two, three and five-day walks and kayaks, but the three-day walk is the perfect option if you can afford the time and want to experience everything this great park has to offer. Don’t worry about having to “rough it” either as you’ll get the luxury treatment without having to lug around heavy packs or cook meals. Best of all, you’ll get to stay at their exclusive beachfront lodges – Meadowbank Homestead in Awaroa and Torrent Bay Lodge. A hot shower and fresh local cooked food is the perfect welcome after a day walking through bush, beaches and estuaries. They even transport your luggage between each lodge – how convenient is that! Our first day starts in Kaiteriteri where we board the Vista Cruise. And what a fitting name, as we enjoy many stunning vistas cruising along the coastline towards the northern part of the park. Along the way, we see New Zealand fur seals “Kekeno” at the legendary seal hot-spot, Tonga Island. It’s great to see these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat and protected within the marine reserve. We arrive at Totaranui where the Department of Conservation (DOC) operate a hugely popular campsite. This marks the starting point of our three-day walk south. Our guide takes us on a two-hour walk through mature beech and rata forests, stopping along the way at secluded golden beaches to enjoy a bite to eat, a drink and time to take in the view. We arrive at the tidal inlet at Awaroa, which can easily be crossed at low tide if you don’t mind getting a bit wet – it’s all part of the experience really! A warm welcome awaits us at Meadowbank Homestead, a beautiful recreation of the Wilson family’s original home complete with heirlooms representing eight generations of the family’s history. Each room is named after members of the family who lived at the original homestead and the decor pays homage to years gone by. After a day on the trail, we enjoy some well-deserved pre-dinner drinks and snacks before a delicious seafood feast is served. Later in the evening, our tour guide shares the fascinating history of the Wilson family’s ancestors, through the triumphs and tragedies of this original European settlement. There’s even a book, Awaroa Legacy, to read afterwards for the real history buffs. After a relaxing night’s sleep listening to the tide go in and out, we awake to birdsong and a cooked breakfast overlooking the gardens by the sea – a perfect way to start our second and longest day of walking. We depart Awaroa to enjoy a morning walk through native forest with magnificent coastal views and along the golden sands of Onetahuti Beach. Another DOC campsite is found here and an opportunity for a toilet stop, a quick snack and time to fill up our water bottles. We continue on to explore the historic sites and picturesque golden cove of Tonga Quarry Beach, where granite was quarried earlier this century and remnants of this remain. A short walk over a forested saddle and around the Waterfall Trail takes us to Bark Bay, where we stop for lunch at the DOC campsite. This is one of the most picturesque beaches in the park and is very popular. After a short break to take in this breathtaking scenery, we continue to wind our way through shady gullies of mature Beech forest, fern grottos and sunny groves of Manuka framing coastal vistas, providing plenty of photo opportunities. After crossing a swing bridge at Falls River, we arrive at our destination for the night, Torrent Bay Lodge, right on the beachfront. Previously the Wilson family’s holiday home, it’s now renovated to include all modern comforts for guests whilst keeping its relaxed, bach-like atmosphere. After a six-hour walk, we take time to relax on the beach and enjoy the sunset after drinks and dinner with the rest of our group. Our third and final day is the easiest section of the coastal track to Marahau. After two stunning days drenched in sunshine, the rain has unfortunately arrived. Nevertheless, we still have time to appreciate the bays and beaches named by French explorer, Dumont D’Urville in 1827 with an interesting history lesson from our tour guide. After a four-hour walk, and feeling quite chuffed with our efforts, we arrive at Park Cafe in Marahau where we enjoy a nice hot drink. We’ve completed our goal of walking the entire length of the park and are quite proud of ourselves! Walking through Onetahuti Beach G ood news for chocolate lovers. New research from Swinburne University of Technology has found the polyphenols in dark chocolate increase calmness and contentedness. Polyphenols are found naturally in plants and are a basic component of the human diet. These compounds have been shown to reduce oxidative stress, which is associated with many diseases. They may also have beneficial psychological effects. “Anecdotally, chocolate is often linked to mood enhancement,” Swinburne PhD candidate and lead author of the study Matthew Pase said. “This clinical trial is perhaps the first to scientifically demonstrate the positive effects of cocoa polyphenols on mood.” Seventy-two healthy men and women aged 40 to 65 years took part in the randomised study to receive a dark chocolate drink mix standardised to contain either 500mg of cocoa polyphenols, 250mg of cocoa polyphenols or 0mg of cocoa polyphenols. The drink mixes were given to participants in identical packaging so that both the investigators and participants were unaware of which treatment they were receiving. Participants drank their assigned drink once a day for 30 days. DARK CHOCOLATE promotes calmness 61 NEWZEALANDFITNESS,June/July2013