An aqua taxi had been booked in Marahau for 9am but you had to be there half an hour earlier. It seemed the world and his wife were here, setting their rucksacks down and applying sunscreen. People can camp along the Abel Tasman Track. It is a coastal path, though does go inland as well. Our taxi got towed out by a tractor that pulled us across the beach and through pretty deep water until the boat was afloat. It wasn't just a journey straight to Bark Bay - they kindly took people to look at points of interest including the Split Apple Rock, shags in the trees and New Zealand Fur Seal pups on Adele Island, a stronghold for wildlife.
A breath-taking boat ride to our beach, then we had to remove our boots to wade through the shallow waters, watching out for sting rays. At first (well, probably until halfway) the walk was an absolute delight, taking us on twists and turns round bays, listening to the sound of birdsong that is so evocative of New Zealand, gorgeous views of turquoise green or crystal clear waters. A stop at Torrent Bay gave us a chance for a swim and lunch. Here were holiday homes, one cost 25 million to put in place our aqua taxi skipper had told us.
Cleopatra's Pool was worth a 10-minute diversion off the track but then the sign board showed Marahau (the name means windy garden) to be 4 hours and 40 minutes away. Some of us started speed walking. Joe and I ended up in front. Actually, after hours of agony, we discovered it had only taken 3 hours and 20 minutes to cover the 25 km back to our motorhome, but boy did it hurt.