South Island, Pt. 6: Rabbit Island

The previous day, covered by the last post, I walked over 20km along Abel Tasman’s famous Coast Walk. For this, my last full day in Nelson, I wanted something a little more relaxing.

Rabbit Island is a small island connected by a bridge and just a 20-minute drive from Nelson. The island is known — inasmuch as it is known, which I think isn’t much — for two things: beaches and forestry.

My plan was to go to the beach (right above the yellow squiggle), then walk basically along the outer perimeter of the red-marked track. The sign helpfully does not include a scale of any sort, but “approximate” distances are given in the sidebar. I think these distances are extremely approximate, as they suggest I did over 9km on my walk and I’m fairly certain it was less than that.

(Also note that the word “dial” is misspelled, suggesting something less than stellar production values for the sign in general and lending credence to my theory that the distances are highly approximate.)

But before the walk, I went to the beach. This turned out to be a poor idea, because the weather started out…well, as you can see here, but by the time I was done with the beach and ready to go for a walk the clouds had largely gone and the sun was out. C’est la vie in New Zealand.

The beach is fairly long. There’s picnic tables in the grassy parking area and a nice changing hut. I walked out into the water, but it wasn’t great for swimming — if the sun had been out and the air a few degrees warmer, I think it would have made a big difference!

Taking the trail down to the forested area, the trees are in a very regular pattern. This is because Rabbit Island is home to some forestry operations — it’s laid out in a grid, and each block has trees at different maturity levels.

It’s a bit strange walking through rows of perfectly-laid-out trees.

The track sometimes peeks out into the open air. I guess this little hill isn’t suitable for planting?

I don’t know if this sign is true or not, but I do believe they have hit on one of the few signs that might actually discourage trespassers. “Private property”, so what? “No trespassing”, boring! “Danger”, meh. “Biosolids”, eww, no way.

The next time the trail brought me to an exposed area, it was with this lovely view. Wow!

Moving along the trail, the skies have almost miraculously cleared up. Looks like low tide here!

To emerge from the trees and see blue skies after all that gray earlier is truly remarkable.

And sure enough, by the time I got back to the beach, the previously empty sands had sprouted towels, umbrellas, and picnic baskets!

Rabbit Island was intended to be a relaxing walk and sit down at the beach after my long hike the day before. Although the weather started out dreary, by the end it had certainly achieved that goal.

Next post, we’ll be saying farewell to Nelson and to my car. See you then!

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