Today, our adventurous American friends John (the photographer) and Jean (the writer) Strother are on the Abel Tasman Coastal Track:
This track is not a loop but the DOC (Department of Conservation) brochure lists several transportation options including travelling by air, bus and boat.
We had Aqua Taxi transport us from Marahau to Mutton Cove. After getting off the boat we did the short side trail to Separation Point which separates Golden Bay from Tasman Bay.
As is common with nearly every coastal hike this track frequently climbs up over headlands before dropping back down to the coast.
Sometimes we had great views of the golden beaches and aquamarine water below…
And sometimes the track took us through forest dense enough we almost forgot we were near the coast…
And, just like other coastal hikes, it was essential for us to consult a tide chart as there are portions of the track that cross estuaries.
The Onetahuti estuary and the Awaroa Inlet, can only be crossed within a specific time period around low tide. But, just because the tide is low doesn’t mean your feet don’t get wet.
In some cases there are high tide routes available. While the hide tide route around Torrent Bay is longer than the low tide route it does take you closer to a side trail to a feature known as “Cleopatra’s Pool”.
Access is easy by boat to any number of spots along the Abel Tasman track and it is a popular track for day hiking and kayaking. As a result there seemed to be more people than on other tracks.
On our first night we were dismayed by how cramped and crowded the Awaroa Campground was. Although it was entertaining to hear a young French woman in a nearby tent explaining her “relationship issues”, which were apparently complicated by her “sensual nature”, to a fellow she had recently met.
However, our second night at the Anchorage Bay campground was great. The camping area is more spread out and most campers had their tents clustered near the cooking shelter. We were happy to find find a spot in the trees well away from anyone else so we could listen to the waves instead of hearing about “relationship issues”.
Doing the Abel Tasman Track also provided us with an educational introduction to a common native species—sandflies.
What New Zealand lacks in things that want to kill you; mountain lions, bears, snakes, etc., it makes up for with sand flies.
Anytime we sat down to rest, eat lunch or enjoy the view we did not have to worry about being tempted to sit there too long. The presence of those small but incredibly voracious insects made the decision to get going again very easy.
We were lucky to have had great weather for the first two days of our trip. Given New Zealand’s commonly wet weather it was not surprising that it deteriorated on our last day. However, it occurred on what we thought was the least scenic part of the track, so we had no complaints.
Read more on panafoot — Jean and John’s blog.
pan-a-foot (păn’ ũh fʊt) v. covering great distances to see more of the world under one’s own power
All of the photos used in this post were taken by John Strother © All rights reserved. See more of their Abel Tasman Track photos on flickr.
A big thanks to Jean and John for giving us permission for us to publish this on the Conservation Blog!