Abel Tasman – lake Rotoroa kayak / tramp adventure


We parked the 5th at this spot – Lake Rotoroa – and loaded HL2 (Her Ladyship Two ) with all the equipment and food for four nights away tramping up to a high alpine lake ” blue lake” reputed to have the best clarity of anywhere in the world ( according to NIWA )

With our 2 large ( empty) backpacks strapped on as aft deck cargo we headed down the lake into a strengthening tail breeze – the lake a mere 14 Kms long so only a 2 hour paddle.


Sabine Hut
Stayed overnight here with a few trampers and then headed up the Sabine River – destination the West Sabine Hut. The track winds steadily upstream through Beech forests sooty black with honey dew and lots of wasps that make this area a little dangerous in the late summer when their populations explode. The lake and lower river is also renown as a bad place for sandflies and they were very bothersome close to the Hut – as were bumblebees – 100’s of them that seemed to be attracted to the colour blue. We both got stung after getting bumblebees in our tops.

After an exhausting 6 hours we finally made it to the swing bridge not far from our next hut , West Sabine. The trail was hard yacka – tangled tree roots through dense forest in places where the track deviated from the rivers edge – and lots of rock hoping along the way.
The weight of our large packs started to tell – Barb gave me a little inspirational pep talk “Bruce — we are just doing it !”

West Sabine Hut – a nice spot we shared with family of 3 trampers

Day 3 – up to Blue lake and Lake Constance
A tough walk of about 4 hours – the West Sabine becomes a long series of rapids as it plunges down. We climbed 668 metres and again the trail was not easy – roots and rocks and some very steep clambering as we neared our destination .

The deep darkest spots in the forest were moody primordial moss covered places best seen in fine weather. The pack is sitting on the actual track that gives a hint at what it was like – marked by small reflective triangles attached to trees to guide you.


Blue Lake Hut – lovely spot up in the tussock country and very close to the lake



Some of the stunning vistas this lake provides . mere mortals are asked not to swim or wash in this pristine water – but we did steal a drink. In actual fact we were able to get our drinking from the river or the numerous small brooks we passed by – no need for boiling or chemicals – all safe and very pure and clear.

Later in the arvo we did this little extra walk that took us to our highest point – about 1400 metres to get the view over Lake Constance .
Day 4
We decided on a huge day – making it all the way back to the lake and the Sabine hut. Was a full days walk that left us both pretty shattered. NINE hours OMG. Oh – youth is wasted on the young – that old quote came to mind a time or two as we meet and talked to some younger trampers who put in some major days and made it look easy. That said we saw many trampers who were experiencing significant pain after some of the very steep descents on some of the routes – routes much harder than ours.

day 5
The Indian summer rolls on and another brilliant day dawned for our 2 km paddle back Lake to the 5th. Turned on the gas water heating system and were showered — packed up and ready to hit the road by midday.

Next stop Westport –

Sunday morning after Westport – at the beach. Barb managed to get a good wash done and our camp looks semi permanent – so she is in a very happy space – nothing like a good laundry opportunity to keep this girl happy!


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