Awaroa Historic Sites, Abel Tasman National Park
15-16 April 2023
We arrived at Awaroa about 10.15am after stops in Wainui and at the roadmans hut on the Totaranui Hill for some history lessons, one of the group commenting that she was in awe of how people could live so humbly.
After morning tea we set off heading south around the estuary, staying close to the rushes until rounding the first point to avoid the mud! In the next bay around, David Gilbertson built boats, from 1865 (a model of the Awaroa, a 71- foot, 59 ton topsail schooner, the largest built here, is in Founders Park Port Museum). I remember as a young child, finding a copper nail on the beach here and later a wooden wedge, probably from those days.
After a shallow crossing of the Awaroa River (Big River) the orange track markers are clearly visible on the edge of the estuary. The track follows the estuary around just on the bush edge for 10 minutes until climbing gently and heading inland. A short distance through fern filled regenerating native forest, we came to the old school site sign.
The birdsong was beautiful as we crossed a swampy area of regenerating pukatea forest. On the now bush-covered terrace above the river lie relics of homes and lives from a bygone era.
After a shallow river crossing and a bush bash through gorse and blackberry (not ideal in open toed sandals) we lunched in the sun and long grass beside the ruins of the old Hadfield home, trying to imagine the lives of those who once lived here.
Looking for a less prickly route back, with the help of topo maps and scout Rob, a very easy track lead us back to the very spot we had crossed the river. We retraced our route back to the school site sign. After scouting about on a high point, Maria calls out that she has found the old school chimney and a few other relics (the school closed in 1931). A few cheeky jibes about the leaders recce. of the trip are made.
Walking eastward around the estuary, we took the track up to the old steam engine, once used for bark milling.
Even though we had set off at low tide (a little later than planned) with a neep tide we had plenty of time before the incoming tide for a very pleasant four hours wandering about.
Later in the afternoon we walked around Hadfields Clearing.
Sunday morning after a nights camping and a noisy wake up call from the wekas, we walked down to Waiharakeke from the Awaroa road for morning tea. It's a beautiful bush walk with about 15 crossings of the stream. It was a three hour round trip.
Driving to Wainui we walked around the low-tide route to Taupo Point. Rob and Era bravely released a cormorant or was it a shag? from entanglement in a fishing line - Era was bitten on the arm. We returned via the high-tide route which offered great views back to Taupo Point and over Wainui.
After an ice cream stop in Pohara, a family visit, and one of the group having an allergic reaction (after eating rock oysters ,which with relief responded to treatment) we returned to Nelson. It was a great trip and company.
Thanks to, Maria, Rob, Sue, Arif, Alison, David, Era (visitor) and Jeanne (Leader & Scribe)