Michelle, the co-owner of Bay Country Lodge, located in Golden Bay, has provided me with a wealth of information about the Abel Tasman National Park area. Yesterday, she suggested two hikes to me: the Grove Scenic Reserve and the Milnthorpe Park Scenic Reserve. Grove is a very short walk of approximately 30 minutes, so I decided to wake up early this morning, where I could do that hike first and then do Milnthorpe, which is located approximately 25 kilometers away. Milnthorpe, with its numerous “walking tracks,” takes approximately 3-4 hours to complete. These are some of the pictures and comments I noted while hiking in these beautiful parks. All of the pictures will enlarge with no loss in resolution if you click on them.
My next hike was Milnthorpe Scenic Reserve Park. The directions that Michelle provided me were excellent and I enjoyed the solitude of driving the country roads. I suspect most people were still beginning their morning with coffee and breakfast. Milnthorpe is a unique park, not only for New Zealand, but for any place in the world. This is one of the only human assisted rainforests – which was begun as an experiment in 1974 “. . . under the auspices of the Department of Lands and Survey as the Milnthorpe Revegetation Project.” The aim was to establish a stricktly indigenous forest over the dis-used 400 plus acre coastal site. Planting efforts frequently perished and by 1976 the true nature of the impoverished soils became apparent. Idealism gave way to pragmatism in a trial planting of exotic trees, of which Australia species (eucalyptus and acacia) proved best adapted to the poor conditions. These trees quickly grew to enrich topsoil layers and provide the crucial canopy of shade that has enabled the successful planting of tens of thousands of native species.
I really had a lot of fun hiking this park. I would say that 90% of the hike had protection from the sun. New Zealanders do not usually refer to it as “jungle” or “forest canopy,” but rather as “bush.” As I have said in earlier posts, the sun is quite intense in this part of the world. This is probably due to a weakened ozone layer. Whatever the reason, sun screen is mandatory around these parts. I also brought along a light, long sleeve cotton shirt, but due to the “bush,” I didn’t need it. The other thing that was interesting to me – which I didn’t know at the time – are the numerous tracks named after people. While hiking, I kept on wondering who these people were and what they did to have signs that read: Trev’s Trek, Joe’s Bush, Bob’s Bit, Mitch’s Lookout (Mitch rated two tracks actually – Mitch’s Loop), Jimmy’s Jungle, Ian’s Incline, Matthew’s Walk, Elise’s Way, and Frampton’s Fairway (Peter?). I even made up stories about each of them . . . Hey, when you’re hiking, you have plenty of time to day dream. I have since learned that these areas were established by donation and named in agreement with the donors. Who knew? 🙂