New Zealand Diary: Abel Tasman National Park

We took a water taxi from Marahau to Anchorage and then walked back along the Abel Tasman Coastal Track.
I think this day alone has given me enough inspiration for years…

DAY 15, DECEMBER 28, 2017

In the morning we drove from Appleby to Marahau. There we booked our water taxi and had coffee and a snack at Hooked Café & Beer Garden (part of the Abel Tasman Centre) while waiting for our departure time.

It was a funny experience to get into the boat in a car park and then be pulled into the sea with tractors.

We didn’t know beforehand that we would be taking a little detour by boat. We got to see the famous Split Apple Rock and a group of sea lions.

In Anchorage we were dropped off at the beach – we had to take the last few steps barefoot ourselves 😉

A small part of me wanted to be lazy and just lie on this beach and enjoy the day, but the hike beckoned with even more beautiful views.

It is very difficult for me to make a selection of photos, because this day was just perfect.

I’m glad there’s the next photo, because it’s proof that the water in the Abel Tasman National Park was very different colours in different places that day. The extreme blue tones are not from any photo filters, but were really that bright!

The signposts said we had 10.8km of walking ahead of us and it would take us about 3hr 30min. But because we stopped so often to take pictures or watch birds, it took us an hour longer.

If my notes are correct, this is the view of Adele Island.
I had sent this photo to friends and got the question in reply: „Where are the dinosaurs?“

I later painted a variation of this view for my series of pastel paintings.

Katja Schmitt New Zealand Abel Tasman 1 Pastel Painting

Fisherman Island:

At this point of our hike, my camera suddenly made very strange noises, could no longer be operated or switched off and then showed me the sign of the turning hourglass for hours with a strange message, so that all the time I was afraid my memory card would be overwritten or formatted and all my New Zealand photos might be lost… (I had saved some of them in the cloud, but not all, because the wifi connections were so bad in places). Fortunately, my phone also has a very good camera – and no pictures were lost!

The Abel Tasman is the smallest national park in New Zealand – but it has a lot going for it!

„I can speak to my soul only when the two of us are off exploring deserts or cities or mountains or roads.“
– Paulo Coelho, Aleph

I would add „forests“ and „shores“, but otherwise this is absolutely true for me.

At this point I found another motif that I painted at home. (Detail)

Katja Schmitt New Zealand Abel Tasman 2 Pastel Painting

The Abel Tasman Coastal Track offers the (for me) perfect combination of walking through a forest right next to the ocean. It is definitely one of the places I want to return to and spend more time painting.

In 1642, the Dutch navigator Abel Tasman was the first European to reach New Zealand and anchor here. This is where the national park got its name.

Back home in my studio I started to explore my impressions of the forests in New Zealand more deeply, especially the Abel Tasman National Park. Interestingly, at first, I still used watercolour and not pastels.

Katja Schmitt New Zealand Abel Tasman 3 Watercolour Aquarell

Katja Schmitt New Zealand Pacific Landscape Watercolor Aquarell

In those first weeks I did a lot of experimenting.

For the sake of completeness, I should mention that after our hike we continued to Murchison, where we had a motel from which the next stage was doable.

These photos give you an idea of the drought that affected many parts of New Zealand in the weeks before our trip.

In Murchison there was one main crossroads and one restaurant where we luckily still got exactly one piece of quiche – it was once again not so easy to eat vegetarian…

Here are a few finished paintings inspired by this day: