Despite the forecast of a cyclone due to hit the top of New Zealand’s south island, a contingent of 9 girls (5 Irish, 3 Kiwi & 1 American) set off on a Friday afternoon to undertake a 3 day hike along the Able Tasman track, arguably one of the most beautiful of New Zealand’s “Great Walks”.
From Wellington, four of us took the Inter-islander ferry across to the South Island, arriving in Picton late on the fri night and then travelling onto the town of Nelson to sleep the night. Here we met some more girls who had flown direct to Nelson from the two cities of Wellington & Auckland.
The following morning the 9 of us got a shuttle bright and early to the start of the track (Marahou) and from there a kayaking company gave us our kayaks and took some our communal packs to drop off at the first campsite, Bark Bay. Everyone was excited at the idea of ditching the heavier bags and getting out on the water for some of the trail and we covered the first 12 km by water giving our feet a break but which resulted in some sore arms!
Because of the storm that had hit Wellington & Nelson a few days before, the campsite at Bark Bay was actually washed out so we had to camp at the back of the Department of Conservation hut, which meant we were all a bit piled up on top of each other as this is a popular campsite & there were lots of other people staying there that night.
The second day we walked from Bark Bay to Awaroa and here we were able to enjoy a lunch at the luxury lodge in Awaroa– how cool! We pitched our tents in the Awaroa campsite that night and had to be up bright and early the following day to drop off our heavier packs 2 km away for collection and back in time to do a tidal crossing early to be able to continue on the track.
On the last day we walked from Awaroa to Totaranui, the shortest distance – about 6.4km and the beach at Totaranui was spectacular! Once we reached Totaranui were able to jump in a water taxi to bring us back to the very start of the track. This was one of the best experiences as we got to see all the beaches along the way on the return trip, the entire distance we had covered (about 50km) & some fur seals and their babies in some of the coves 🙂
The Abel Tasman trail has some of the most beautiful scenery I’d seen in NZ and as a hike it’s not too tough. The only thing that was complicated was transporting enough food & camping gear for 9 people but the fact that we were able to use a company to help us bring the heaver stuff from campsite to campsite made things easier & we were able to fully enjoy the experience.