After a night spent on the couch in the Takaka hostel seeking refuge from both the storm and the snorer, I left bright and early this morning to catch a ride to the beginning of the Abel Tasman track, excited that I was finally doing something I’d wanted to for a long time. The Kahurangi Ranges were covered in snow as I left town, and they looked beautiful.
The track began around the coast, and at the first junction I turned and climbed up into the hills. The official Abel Tasman track continues around the coast, but Cyclone Gita had damaged part of it and it was closed. Luckily, there was an easy detour which took me up to Gibbs Hill and down to Totaranui on the other side in just four hours.
Climbing up Gibbs Hill I was accompanied by so many fantails, I felt like Snow White getting dressed.
For the first time ever I saw a completely black fantail, and I wondered if it was an anomaly until I saw a few more. I read later that black fantails are rare in north island, and only make up 5% of the south island fantail population.
I arrived at Totaranui with no fuss, and set up my tent, which was visited by many an inquisitive weka over the course of the afternoon! I also managed to finally perfect dinner on the trail: red lentils with instant mashed potatoes, cheese and gravy. I call it Hiker Poutine.