After crossing the West Coast, I arrived in the Tasman region, where the Abel Tasman National Park is located. A trail runs along the coast for a 3/4 days-hike alternating passages in coastal forests and yellow sandy beaches.
3 days and a half. March 2017 | Abel Tasman Track
So I leave my bike and my belongings in Motueka and I start with only my backpack and my tent for 3 days and a half of hiking. The hike is very beautiful mainly in the rainforest at the bottom of the coast which changes into drier vegetation made of cypress, reminds me of the Alpilles (South of France), when the trail climbs the small hills of the seaside. Sometimes the track passes trough small bays or beaches covered with golden sand.
Contrary to what I thought, the Abel Tasman Track is not at all a “wild” hike. The first two days were filled with people on the way. It’s almost like a highway. There are shuttles that constantly runs the coast to deposit and take back, on the beaches, people come to make only a few kilometers of the track. Kayak groups are present in almost all the bays and beaches and the trail crosses several small tourist villages accessible only by boat.
On the afternoon of the second day I spend 3 hours without seeing anyone! A miracle. It feels good. Just the sound of my footsteps, the singing of birds and cicadas and the smells. I’m almost anxious about the idea of meeting someone. The moment seems so perfect, like a privileged moment. Finally! Just me and nature. The birds songs are extraordinary. The Bellbirds do not stop singing their melodious notes. And little Fantail flutter in front of me, uttering little cries.
The three campsites where I spend my nights: Anchorage, Awaroa and Whariwharangi were nice but being located near huts, there are quite full of people. The most beautiful part of the way, or the one offering me the most beautiful views, is at the end of the second day arriving at Awaroa bay. After a big climb in the heat, the bay at low tide unfolds before my eyes. It is absolutely splendid. The reflections of the water in the estuary added to the light of the late afternoon offer me a superb landscape.
During the journey, I cross several estuaries at low tide. This is somewhat exciting to be able to cross where the sea normally lies. Lots of seashells line the ground and small crabs roam on the wet sand. Water still remains in certain areas to be crossed and it is therefore necessary to remove the shoes and to raise the pants.
In the animal section, apart from the birds I have already mentioned, I saw a few Fur Seals at Separation Point and Wekas were present every 100 meters. On the third evening, a very cheeky Weka tried relentlessly to come and eat my shoes! Theses big birds that do not fly and look like chickens are very funny to observe.
I reach Wainui Bay on the morning of the fourth day. This is the end of the journey. In the end despite the fact that there were a few too many people on the trail, I have spent a nice time walking the miles of the Abel Tasman Track.
Summary : The Abel Tasman Track is one of the nine Great Walks in New Zealand. It runs along the northwest coast of the South Island.
Location : South Island. The departure is from Marahau in the Tasman region to Wainui. The track can be done in the other direction.
Duration : Generally 3 to 4 days. You can also do kayak or water taxi if you do not want to walk all the way.
Distance : 60 kilometers one way.
Hiking stories is a love letter to nature, to walking and camping. And to all that’s come with it: weather troubles, muscles pain and noisy tourists on the trails.
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