Day 14 – short five minute drive to Cape Farewell followed by half hour hike up to viewpoint for long-sufferings photo opportunity of part of the spit – the northern most tip of the South – hazy today but just visible.
Abel Tasman National Park
Rawhiti Cave – was my idea – another deviation from ‘the itinery’, so far caves had eluded us, this would be our first stop in the Abel Tasman national park. The walk started easy enough through forest adjacent to a dry creek-bed.
Easy, turned into majorly difficult for a recovering hippie and difficult for long-suffering as we climbed ever steeper through tough terrain picking our way through roots, rocks and slippery unstable slopes up the canyon wall. My mother would be mortified ‘Oh Lou’ – my nickname after a smarties advert! ‘I worry about you and your hip’ I can hear her say as I press on!
Oh my, the trek up was worth all the sweat of trying and more – my exhaultation at getting up intact was masking my thoughts of how on earth I would get down without dislocating my hip or worse!
Through the cave opening was a huge overhang hung with hundreds of thousands of Stalactites from its walls. Neither of us had ever seen a spectacle such as this. They reminded me of the pipes of a grand cathedral organ only rugged and playing an eerie symphony of crackling, popping, dripping, sounds echoing into the blackness below.
Steep damp slippery steps inside led down to a viewing platform 50m deep. Light levels for a cave were bright enough for ferns and mosses to thrive in this damp oasis and helped Long-suffering to set up his Tripod for the best shots! We forgot our torch which would have helped with the view of the cave floor and Stalacmites – my phone beam was pretty much useless.
All too soon it was time to leave this quiet wonderland for the precarious downward slopes. Whereas I lead on the journey up, the going down, long suffering insisted I follow him. With the challenges to come I was more than happy for him to take the lead, my mother would definitely approve ‘very sensible Lou!’
The Grove – An easy walk of half hour mostly on the flat – thank goodness – through jungle. Huge sculpted boulders at every turn, tall trees and palms vying for the light, their stems disguised by the twisting stems of vines wrapped thickly around and over the smooth surfaces of the hard sculptured rock. Beautiful ferns grow through the dead and dying, springing from decaying trunks seemingly lifeless on the jungle floor.
Totaranui D.O.C. Camping Site – our stop for the night set slightly back from the beach. Orange coarse sand greeted our feet as we stepped out onto the long beach in the sheltered bay. We were looking forward to a well deserved hour or two horizontal, watching the waves gently lap the shore, before an early evening stroll in the surf, looking at shells and lots of washed up starfish before supper and bed after another jam packed day in this beautiful country that is New Zealand.