Day 1, Nov 23, 2018 – Marahu to Anchorage (12.4km)
Departed Nelson at 7am with the temperature around 7°C. This weeks’ weather in the South Island is unusual, meaning some bad weather is round the corner and may affect our track. We were prepared for it with appropriate gear. Arrived at Marahu by shuttle bus from Nelson around 8am. Once all the paper work was sorted at DOC office, we handed over our packs to be transported by water taxi. We were off around 8.30 am on our coastal track which started immediately opposite the office. It began as a cool day with strong shine just edging over the lush green mountains.
The track is well defined and started as wooden planks over a marsh. Today’s hike would take us about 4 hrs covering 12.4 km. A few kayaks on the water off Tinline Bay. Took a detour towards Tinline Nature Walk. Native bush with small but fast flowing streams. Arrived at secluded and a little stony Apple Tree Bay around 11 am. The sun shined brightly. Across the water are smaller Fisherman and Adele islands. It was a beautiful day. Walking amongst the native bush, mainly beech forest and kanuka tress, was exhilarating. Silver and black tree ferns provided variety in the bush. The track meandered inland mainly under the canopy of trees. It offered shade. The gradient was gentle, suitable to most average hikers. Detoured towards Pitt Head. Fantastic view of emerald green and turquoise water of bays, beaches and coves. Water taxis and boats shuffled around transporting people, kayaks and luggage to various spots along a wonderful coast. Something unusual was, there is no wind at all. On the water, not even a ripple! Avid kayakker’s paddled gently on the blue – green waters. As we approached Anchorage, the tall tree canopy gave way to shrubs as we climbed uphill. Here, it offered 360 degrees view of water and mountains. Finally, we arrived at beautiful Anchorage Bay around 2pm.
An inviting crescent golden sand beach lay before us. The beach was crowded with trampers and mostly day trippers via water taxis. On the water, boats and kayaker were busy. We picked up our pack from the beach. Our hut was cozy and with 24 bunk beds. From here, headed to Cleopatra Pool. The light on the water along the way was amazing. It was unbelievably clear. The refreshing pool had a natural slide (perhaps for slimier and smaller bodies). The water was cold. The return walk was 1.5 hrs.
At dinner time, I was quite excited to cook with my newly purchased pots and stove. All the huts on this track only provide shelter, a bed and mostly unpurified water. No showers nor power either. There was a camaraderie amongst the hikers. Most were foreigners. Later in the cloudy evening, I strolled on a empty beach only to the sound of water gently lapping on the shore. Still no breeze.