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If they build straight roads in New Zealand, we haven’t found them yet. Today we headed up to the north end of Abel Tasman Park on another crazy twisty road.

Hawkes Lookout – down the valley to Motueka and the Cook Strait

This whole peninsula is made up of limestone karst with caves, sinkholes and canyons to explore! And, of course, the geology comes with a Māori creation story…

Ngarara Huarau was a giant taniwha, a lizard-like monster who lived in Wainui Bay, at the top end of what is now Abel Tasman Park. He only thought about devouring men and snaring women. He kidnapped the beautiful Ruru, but she was too clever for him; she lulled him to sleep with a powerful incantation and escaped from his cave. The local people helped Ruru by setting the monster on fire. He fled to the top of Takaka Hill and tried to dig his way home but was consumed by the flames. His charred scaled turned to stone and were strewn about the hills.

Charred scales of Ngarara Huarau??

We thought this part of the road was curvy but we were in for a surprise. The Takaka Hill is more like a mountain curving ever upward, followed by a lot of down.

The Labyrinth Rocks was a fun place to get quasi-lost. The site is a limestone/karst outcrop with a maze-like network of canyons and crevices.

A trail between the huge rock formations

Some of the formations have been given names/descriptions. You might have to use your imagination a bit.

Maybe an alligator?
Someone had a sense of humour and left figurines in interesting places among the rocks
Lots of erosion in the Labyrinth Rocks

The Grove Scenic Reserve in Motupipi took us through more limestone canyons to a great viewpoint over the valley.

More Indiana Jones vibes
The viewpoint off the karst outcrop

Once more up and down Takaka Hill (Kris was maybe a bit car sick at the end) and back to our lodge to hang out with all the birds. Tomorrow we will see Abel Tasman National Park from a catamaran cruise.

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