At low tide, the bay exposes hundreds of thousands of shells. Clams, cockles, scallops, mussels, of all shapes and sizes. The further out, grass and seaweed poke out and oystercatchers and herons are picking at their food. Cockles can be harvested by either digging below the top layer of sand or finding the larger ones drifting in.

I brought with me a large blue bowl and a tin pot with a handle to fill up with salt water later for purging. Sitting in saltwater the cockles will spit out sand. The daily limit is 150 per person and I was able to reach that limit in less than an hour easily.

I made my way back after collecting dinner. These guys would later be cooked in a frying pan with garlic butter. Super delicious with salt, pepper, lime and it made me miss snails and clams in Vietnam. Next time will include lemongrass.

Lately, I’ve been getting back into gear by running, and I couldn’t have a better place to do it than Abel Tasman national park which is just down the hill from our new place.

The coastal track is relatively flat with only a few hills. Across the bridges at the entrance people spell out “Happy birthday” and “I love you Mom” with stones. Further along, is Porters Beach and some nice lookout points where the coast can be seen and people are either sailing or kayaking out in the bay.

But one thing that has caught my attention are the fungi.

Nature is weird and spotting these guys along my morning run usually slows me down to take a closer look.

The variety of birds, mollusks, plant life, and fungi are extremely diverse here and I’ve been cataloging my finds on the iNaturalist app. The app has missions and species nearby to keep an eye out for. Like real life Pokémon.

Going further into the national park is Tinline Bay and the campsite.

There is a separate nature trail that runs along a creek. On the iNaturalist app, a special blue colored mushroom called an Entoloma hochstetteri which is famous for being on the $50 NZD banknote was marked as being spotted here. As I continued I stumbled upon more Fly Agarics and a Velvet bolete but no Entoloma.

The track has green damp moss growing on the side of the cliff and creeks and waterfalls are everywhere. People wearing backpacks come from the other way if they’ve been camping out further up north. The round-trip run today was around 12km and I’m hoping to discover more as I go further into the park each day.

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