New Zealand Great Walk: Abel Tasman

Aside from the sand flies, I can only recommend the Abel Tasman Coastal Trek. It is one of the prettiest treks we have ever done, and it is also incredibly easy-going and relaxing. A win-win in my book.You can walk parts of the trail for a day trip, or like us, pack seven nights worth of supplies on your back for an eight day camping trip, our longest yet! As Kay quipped, the first part of the trek is so easy, all they need to do is paint the white stripe in the middle of the path for the prams and wheelchairs because it is so much like a road and not an actual hiking path.I’ll admit that setting out with eight days supplies on my back was quite a load, one that did not go unnoticed by my knees. I was a little slower even on the flat route, but as we went along, things got lighter and easier.It’s also a wonderfully flexible route with water taxis and kayaking options that can get you to and from the beach access points along the route faster than just walking as we did.Most of the walk itself is also shaded by the lush jungle.Amazingly enough, while it is so flat, the trek also provides plenty of panoramic vistas to enjoy along the way.When we made it to our first campsite for the night, we knew we’d made the right decision to do this trek.Also with eight days, we didn’t have to work hard to get from one campsite to the next. Most days only required a few hours hiking before we were at the next beach for a swim and nap, with optional side treks in case we were bored.The weather in late February was still pretty warm and after sweating it up on the path walking, it was bliss to cool down in the ocean after setting up camp.Below was one of my favorite campsites at Bark Bay, I believe. Literally steps from the beach, you can see Kay in the lower right corner laying in the sand. The only weird thing here was that after an hour of swimming, suddenly the water was filled with rows and rows of connected fish eggs, which were sticky and felt like swimming through aloe.  We asked the camp master about it, and he said that every once in awhile these fish eggs just show up and they aren’t sure why. They don’t harm you, but it is kind of disturbing so we stopped swimming after that.Later that evening while we were watching the sunset and enjoying our honey whiskey for dessert, Kay decided to use one of the designated fire pits to see if he still had the skills to start a fire from scratch. Which he could.Also at this point in the trip, we were well into enjoying the wekas… the annoying birds on the trek who would come disturb your campsite and literally steal your shoes. At one of our later campsites in the week, a woman came to me asking if I had seen her hiking boot, which we eventually saw had been dragged to a bush somewhere away from her tent. Bad, bad birds! Look how evil they look!Meanwhile, the birds had attacked my breakfast and dinner meals and dragged them into the woods along with my toiletries bag, poking holes in the bags that meant I had to get a little creative how to salvage the meal and still be able to re-hydrate it with water. Nothing was safe from these devilish creatures! After this I learned to keep everything not only inside the tent walls, but inside my backpack so that they couldn’t pop under the side and drag things out.On one of the later days we came to the Awaroa inlet, which Kay eagerly wanted to pass on foot when the tide was low, which is only possible twice a day. We had to pay attention to the changing time of the tides each days and had planned more or less before we left what time we would complete the crossing on this day.When we arrived, the water was still pretty high, so we had snacks and swam while we waited for it to lower enough to make the crossing before it got too dark and get to Waiharakeke Bay campsite. Below you can see how much the water lowered just in the time we were there.Starting our crossing!Kay thought this was very cool, because crossing the inlet meant that you saved a lot of time hiking around it… plus the idea of hiking on paths that are inaccessible for most of the day tickles him.I was enjoying the crossing, but at the same time, Kay was trying to get me to go a bit faster because the sun was really going and he didn’t want to set up camp in the dark.One the penultimate day, we hiked to Separation Point where we were looking forward to observing the seal colony that lives up there.Sure enough, there were plenty of seals to view until our heart was content! There’s something special about seeing an animal like seals in the wild.I am also not sure if there is anything cuter than a baby seal hopping around. Seals are funny creatures. Without any further plans for the day, we could easily stay and watch the seals for a few hours. It was great fun watching them jump off and on rocks and dive for fish.We climbed down on a couple rocks and came upon a mother and her baby seal, but we were careful not to get too close. We did not want to get too close to any of the seals in case they could be dangerous, especially protecting their young.Eventually we started for the way back up the path and onto our last campsite.Some of the beaches on the last couple days had such a deserted and ancient feeling to them, like something out of Indiana Jones. It was a special place for sure.On our very last day we headed to our pick up point and were driven back the whole route to Motueka where we picked up our car with all our belongings.

Again, I can only recommend this famous trek to anyone who is thinking of visiting New Zealand. It was the highlight of our trip there! Even if you only have time for a day trip, it is worth the visit!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *