Sep 272012
 

Author: Anna Palmer

This is the continuation and conclusion of last Thursday’s post

The utter beauty of Abel Tasman

The utter beauty of Abel Tasman

After getting out of my appointment and feeling pretty distraught, the group encouraged me to sneak into a nearby hostel and take a much-needed shower, which was just what I needed to bring my spirits back up.  Sam was feeling a lot better at this point in time as well so we continued onward to Abel Tasman and began our three-day tramp.  The first day we raced the sun in order to set up camp before nightfall, which didn’t happen.  Because of high-tide and a simple misjudgment, Michelle and I got our hiking boots and socks soaked, which left us cold and worried about how in the world we would dry them out.  We decided to hang the socks over the fire, only to find that socks do, in fact, burn.  Our hiking boots thankfully managed to mostly dry the next morning sitting out on the beach.

Over the course of the next two days, I was in awe of the surplus of stunning views.  From the sandy white beaches and beautifully blue water to the mossy jungle, Abel Tasman turned out to be one of the prettiest places I’ve been to in New Zealand thus far.  Despite the group’s struggles, we managed to make it to a campsite before nightfall, set up the tents without any problems and set down for a less than satisfying meal of mushy spaghetti. We were one happy bunch regardless of the meal.  The last day, as we hastily made our way to the beach where the water taxi would take us back to our van, we realized that the time we had allotted for the trip back (as advised by the lady at the information desk) was not nearly enough time to make it there.  A bit stressed and on edge, we reached a hut, thankful to find a very helpful employee inside, who rebooked our water taxi to pick us up at a different beach.

The utter beauty of Abel Tasman

The utter beauty of Abel Tasman

By this point, we all were exhausted and ready to get back.  I was extremely happy to see the water taxi in the distance, but when the ride back ended up taking two hours this happiness dissipated. At this point, Sam was in a lot of pain from her mysterious tailbone injury and was doing all that she could to fight back the tears.  We finally made it back to the van and realized Sam needed to be taken to the medical center.  So back we went to the same one we had been at for my shingles situation.  After examining Sam, the doctor told her she had an abscess (caused by an ingrown hair) and needed to have surgery.  I came into the operating room with Sam and the doctors proceeded to slice open the abscess and drain out the fluid.  After ten minutes of excruciating pain, it was finally over.  They put on a dressing and told Sam that she would have to get it changed every day for 7 days.  Despite the ordeal, Sam managed to put on a brave and smiling face as we hopped back into the van determined to find a hostel for the night.

Thankfully, we managed to find one and got some much needed rest.  The next morning we made our way toward Kaikoura, making a pit stop for a short walk to a waterfall where we witnessed about 15 or so seal pups playfully swimming in the water.  It was such an unbelievable sight and it definitely lifted the spirits of the entire group.

Kaikoura is a beautiful coastal town nestled between snow-capped mountains and the beautifully blue water of the Pacific Ocean.  This was yet another place where I was in awe of the pure

Seal pup at the waterfall

Seal pup at the waterfall

beauty that surrounded me.  After breezing through this oasis, we made our way to Hanmer Springs, for much-needed dip in the hot springs.  However, it was here that we found out Sam would need to get another surgery once back in Dunedin.  At this point, we all knew that we had to get back as soon as possible and the only thing that was between us and home was a 7-hour grueling drive that Sam would be in pain for the majority of.  To top it off, a mere two hours away from Dunedin, we managed to get pulled over by the cops.  Bad luck indeed.

Looking back on this week and all that went awry, I can see how anyone reading this may think “boy, what a disaster of a week.”  In all honesty, I thought this myself at one point during the course of the week.  We had definitely had our fair share of misfortunes and bad luck, but I would not trade this week for anything in the world.  It was a week packed full of adventure and one that I will never forget.  All the crummy times made me realize how valuable the littlest things are and how it is so easy to get swept up in the negatives and miss out on all the good passing by you each and every second.  We had managed to see the sheer beauty of the south island in one short week as well as experience the inevitable misfortunes one encounters on a road trip.  But I will never forget the memories made on this trip, all the laughter, all the tears and all the mood swings in between.  In one short week, I learned the value of friendship, support and encouragement.  Looking back on this week, I can’t help but smile at all the adventures we had as a group, as an unconventional family of adventure world travelers and boy, what a week to remember it was.

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