Abel Tasman Trek

Published: September 30th 2019
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The Abel Tasman trek is one trek we have been wanting to do for a long time and after waiting 5 years to return to NZ, we got our chance!

After attending my cousins wedding in Queenstown followed by a chance to cycle some hills around Akaroa and Lyttleton, we flew in to Nelson from Christchurch.

As with most big treks within New Zealand, we had booked several weeks in advance along with the transport, a bus to the start of the trek and back and the water taxi from our last point, Awaroa, to Kaiteriteri.

We were lucky that we were doing the trek after the summer peak time, during the week and also the week before the school holidays which meant that it was quiet and unspoiled. We also struck gold with the most perfect weather possible, sun everyday and no wind!

You can start the trek from both ends and choose as many days as you want to do. We chose to start the trek from Marahau to Awaroa and to do the trek in 4 days, which roughly equated to 4-5 hours of walking per day, mostly along flat paths with a couple of hilly inclines per day to make it a little more interesting.

There are many different campsites along the way as well as cabins. We chose to camp and all of the main camp sites had toilets and a kitchen. We had bought all of our food and water before hand and had to make sure the was enough to cover all four days as there is no place to buy more. Watch out for those pesky Wekas! We had to make sure we didn't leave our tent open or food lying about as the Wekas were always lurking within easy reach. They got in to a pack of noodles! luckily I got to it before our dinner was lost

The beaches and landscape along this walk are amazing! Golden sand accompanied by blue tidal waters and bushy green hills all around, enough to forget that the rest of the world exists! it appears so untouched and separated from anything else.

Our first day took us to Anchorage campsite were a local school group were practising Moari dances and customs which was great to be able to watch. The second day we had to take the long way around due to the tides from Anchorage to Bark Bay via Torrent Bay. On a few sections along the trek it is possible to cross estuaries within within a few hours either side of the low tide time, the second day is one of those days. When you get to Torrent bay and climb the hill, there is gorgeous viewpoint! and when the tide goes out a little bit you get an amazing range of water colour mixed with emerging sand banks. It's one of those view that makes you wonder if you are actually in New Zealand! We got the same feeling when we arrived towards Bark Bay and you could see how clear the water was! we keep comparing it to Croatia.

Walking for 4-5 five hours a day was great because it gave us the flexibility to take our time in the morning but also arrive in time at our destination to be able to put our feet up and relax. If you are a keen walker then you can choose to walk the distance you want thanks to the variety of campsites along the trail.

Our third day took us once again the long way around due to high tide from Bark Bay to Awaroa. At the halfway point we stopped at Onetahuti beach for lunch where the trail continues along a long stretch of beach and re joins the mainland towards Awaroa. Our last night was spent at Awaroa campsite which was a bit of a walk away from where we needed to catch the shuttle boat back the following morning. We needed to get up and leave early in the morning to be able to cross an estuary before the tide came in. If the tide is high in Awaroa, it means you need walk several hours to catch the shuttle boat instead of only 20-30 min.

Crossing early meant that when we got to Awaroa Bay Beach, we got to enjoy eating our breakfast on an empty beach! One last secluded moment before heading back in to civilisation.

We treated ourselves to a bit of hot chocolate at the Awaroa lodge while waiting for the shuttle to arrive. There's some subtle satisfaction walking in to a fancy hotel/restaurant knowing that you've done it the old fashioned way by having basic showers, camping, cooking your own food etc and all the other people around you have taken the more comfortable, but more expensive option.

It also gave perspective in to how it took us 4 incredibly breathtaking days to walk a distance that a 90 minute boat shuttle back to Kaiteriteri can take for granted. It was also a pleasant reminder of the places we saw and stayed at as the shuttle stopped in those very places for that quick pit stop. It really is worth spending at least a few nights on the trail if possible!

The Abel Tasman trek is now one of our favourite treks that we have done and having that window of perfect weather added to the whole experience!

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