Great Walker Diaries – Abel Tasman Coast Track

 —  29/10/2012

DOC Great Walks Logo.

by Siobhan File

In November I’m going down to Nelson for a week with work and thought that while I’m down there, I should attempt my first proper Great Walk at the end of the trip (with the Abel Tasman Coast Track). I say proper because I’ve done bits before, but I was helicoptered to those places and met my bag and a chilli bin of food at the huts, rather than having to carry it myself… don’t judge me.

So, I rallied a group of friends together last Saturday night while we were all out at dinner. Everyone was super keen, but over the week it’s dwindled from six of us, to four of us, to now just me and my boyfriend who’s going to meet me on the Friday.

Mosquito Bay, Abel Tasman National Park. Photo: Garry Holz

Mosquito Bay, Abel Tasman National Park

After stuffing up my hut bookings (which the visitor centre staff were very nice about), we’ve locked in Anchorage Hut for Friday night and Awaroa Hut for Saturday night. We’ll then catch an aqua taxi back from Totaranui on Sunday afternoon to fly back to Wellington.

A map of Abel Tasman National park and the walking route.

A map of where we’ll be walking

So that’s a big day of walking on the Saturday. I hope I don’t get blisters or a sore back from my pack.

Some other things I am currently worried about include:

  • What am I going to wear? The DOC website says wool or fleece clothing, but even in November? Isn’t Nelson the sunniest spot in New Zealand? I’m not sure what tramping attire really is.
  • Will my running shoes be ok? I don’t think I’ll be able to fit big fluffy socks into them…
  • The website also says ‘a portable stove will be needed’. I don’t have one of those either. I’ll have to look around for one.
  • Will my sleeping bag be warm enough (given it’s a child’s one I got from Santa when I was 11)?
  • Which aqua taxi will we get from Totaranui, and will it tee up with a shuttle back to the airport?

Some things I am really excited about include:

  • Being able to eat as much scroggin as I like—guilt free because it’s pretty much non-negotiable for tramping
  • Choosing my own mix of ingredients to make my perfect scroggin
  • Experiencing the spiritual feeling I’m told I’ll get while walking
  • Playing cards by candle light in the huts
An image of scroggin including sultanas and nuts.

Did you know that ‘Scroggin’ stands for: ‘Sultanas, Carob, Raisins, Orange peel, Grains, Glucose, Imagination, Nuts’. I’m gonna go crazy on the ‘imagination’, and will definitely be swapping the carob for chocolate.

So I’ve got a bit of organising to do around getting there and back, and sorting out my equipment. If anyone has any recommendations or advice about the Abel Tasman it would be greatly appreciated!

18 responses to Great Walker Diaries – Abel Tasman Coast Track


    Have a great time! xx

    Siobhan File 03/11/2012 at 1:49 pm

    Thanks Margo 🙂 Oh yes, insect repellent is a must – mossies love me. Thanks for the tips – I have trouble packing lightly so this will be a challenge!


    Have a great time on your adventure. Loved that track, and it was fantastic. Don’t forget to take your bug repelant and sunscreen. Don’t over pack the food or clothes. You can easily wash out your walking gear at each hut, and have it dry by the next day. have fun, enjoy.


    While I haven’t walked this stretch of New Zealand (Abel Tasman National Park) or actually set my two feet onto your beautiful country yet, I am hoping to soon. Based on my research for the 9 Great Walks in 9 weeks competition [I entered by the way] in New Zealand and with the Abel Tasman being one of them, here are my answers/suggestions to your questions, mind you I am not an expert by any stretch of the imagination but I do play a novice walker/outdoor adventurer in real life……

    *what to wear in November? Since the weather is never predictable I did find that the average temp is 19/10c or 66/50f which here in Oregon is warm when the sun is out but cool when cloudy. Evenings can be chilly at least too me. I suggest: Bringing a sweater, not to heavy remember you will have too carry it whether you wear it or not. Rain is possible, so a durable lightweight jacket, highly recommended but do check the weather forecast before you leave. Socks – always bring more than you need, they don’t weigh much and I’ve always hated walking with wet socks.

    *will your running shoes be ok? Yes, probably. As long as they are broken-in. I would not go out and buy a new pair of walking shoes for a 3 day walk, you are asking for blisters [been there, done that, not going there again] But do bring sandals or flip flops to change into when staying at the hut, give your shoes a rest/air out before wearing them the next day or two.

    *portable stove will be needed? I’m not sure If I would hassle with that but that would be up to you I suppose. I myself could go without a hot meal for a few days, just bring food that doesn’t need to be cooked…tuna in a can/pouch, jerky, crackers, ‘scroggin’, etc. And you never know, someone else might have brought a stove with them and would be willing to let you borrow it while staying at either of the huts you’ll be sleeping at overnight.

    *Will a sleeping bag be warm enough? (Child one received by Santa, age 11) Ah, I’d have to guess, and this is of course a ‘WILD’ guess not knowing you that you are not the same size/height wise now as you were at age 11, and that’s just guessing. So with that being said, yeah, I would borrow or buy a new sleeping bag more fitting to your size/age now. And of course if you like/survive this walk there are 8 more walks you can tackle and will definitely need a sleeping bag then. So answering the question, buy a new one and bring a lightweight blanket for extra warmth, you can always use the blanket to spread out on the ground when stopping for your daily lunch breaks not it won’t be a complete waste bringing it.

    *Aqua taxi to Totaranui, shuttle back to airport? Yeah, you are on your own on that one, couldn’t find anything useful. I might suggest calling around maybe check with the DOC?, wink wink, they might be helpful as hundreds upon thousands of walkers have used these services daily over the years.

    Hopefully this was helpful if not I did my best to at least entertain you for a few minutes with my babbling. All in all, of course have a great trip, take lots of pictures, and then tell us all in detail how the walk was. Even the nitty gritty details of stubbing your toe, forgetting your toothbrush and that extra pair of socks I told you to bring because your only pair got all wet when you fell in the water. All kidding aside, just have FUN, have an adventure, just get out and walk.

      Siobhan File 03/11/2012 at 1:48 pm

      Hey Joseph, thanks for all your advice! I will go and get some more socks today. Good tip about the hut shoes too. I’ve managed to sort out the transport – the DOC staff kindly sent me through all the shuttle/taxi timetables so that was handy. I’ll definitely take lots of photos and do a write up of how it went. Fingers crossed there’s no toe-stubbing though!

      Good luck in the Great Walker comp!

    Siobhan File 01/11/2012 at 2:09 pm

    Hi everyone, thanks so much for your tips and tricks! I’m sorted for gear now, and am just about to tick off the transport—what a nightmare that’s been! I’ll let you know how I get on in my next post…

    Hayden Mischefski 01/11/2012 at 9:17 am

    I recommend Goji berries in scroggin for the imagination element – they are really tasty.


      I have done walks through the Waitakere Ranges Auckland a couple of times in the past!! there are fantastic views there the coast line of Whatapu, Huia, Cascade Kauri, Piha, Karkare, Cornmalls, Muriwai, there is the Arataki visitor centre. So much beautiful scenery to see but at some time i would like to do some South Island walks as the scenery there is absolutely awesome. I would hazard a guess that you would be able to see the Southern Alps most of the time at the higher points of the walks of course.

      Siobhan File 01/11/2012 at 2:12 pm

      Oo yes they are! As well as being a Miranda Kerr endorsed super food! Good idea 🙂


    Worn in shoes are the best way to not get blisters. Worth investing in good tramping socks too. Definitely second that warmer sleeping bag is needed! And for clothing, in summer you’ll probably get away with cotton shorts and t-shirt, but make sure you have polypropylene or woollen long underwear for top and bottom in your pack to put on if it gets cold. Have fun 🙂

      Siobhan File 01/11/2012 at 2:11 pm

      Hi Sophie, thanks for your advice 🙂 I was thinking I should get some tramping socks too – and my manager is kindly lending me her proper sleeping bag. Fingers crossed we get lots of sunshine!


    I have often thought I would like to do the Abel Tasman walk well different South Island walks as the South Island certainly has the best walks, the Southern Alps to see wow what awesome beauty the mountains have.
    Peter Black

      Siobhan File 01/11/2012 at 2:14 pm

      It will be my first South Island walk too so I’ll let you know how it compares!

    Nicola Kennedy 30/10/2012 at 8:55 am

    Sounds like a great walk! I think I would be investing in a good pair of tramping boots, best thing we did!

      Siobhan File 01/11/2012 at 2:15 pm

      Thanks Nicola, I’ll look into that – comfort is crucial 🙂

    Kerry Morriss 29/10/2012 at 6:33 pm

    Id def take a warmer sleeping bag hun…that kiddie one will be past its best now!

      Siobhan File 01/11/2012 at 2:17 pm

      Thanks Mum – It probably did get a bit worn down with all the stair sliding…

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