Hiking Abel Tasman National Park with Friends

The world is small and so we bumped into Marielle and Sebi which are good friends of us and were on a half a year around the world trip. Okay it actually was all planed nevertheless we were all delighted to see each other at the other side of the world.

However before they arrived from the North Island we had a look around picturesque Picton and even drove up to a near-by look out. As we looked over harbour and its palm trees we imagined that this also could have been in the Caribbean.

Once Sebi and Marielle (who, by the way, also have a travel blog on their own http://semaroundtheworld.blogspot.com.au/?m=1 – you excuse this commercial-like referral) got their car we drove on to Nelson to stock up on food for the next few days and then went on to Motueka where we had a cabin at the Top 10 Holiday Park for the night. A nice BBQ was an excellent opportunity to catch up and exchange new and old stories (okay mainly old stories Kevin and Sebi have already exchanged a hundred times).

The next day marked the start to our three days and two nights Abel Tasman National Park hiking adventure. The 42 km long hike is one of New Zealand’s Great Hikes and is done by a lot of people each year. The track leads along the coastal line of the Abel Tasman National Park which is at the most northwestern corner of the South Island. The only downside (so to speak) is that one needs to carry a tent, cloth and food for three days which is the equivalent of 8 to 18 kg per person. Anyway such small things couldn’t do us any harm and off we went for an adventure.

After a 20 minute drive to Marahau we parked our cars and switched to a water taxi (which was a boat for about 15 people which stopped at every bay). The weather was unfortunately not that good and it started to rain as soon as we were on the boat. However later the weather got much more pleasant and was great most of the three days. On the two hours boat ride up to Totaranui we crossed a few seals and passed all the bays which we later would cross by foot.

Once the boat had dropped us off at Totaranui the great adventure could really begin. The whole track has quite a few uphill and downhill sections around the bays but is otherwise relatively flat. It leads mostly along the coastline but also has some inland passages (more here http://goo.gl/3R8jR). After a while we needed to cross our first of three bays. These bays can only be crossed at low tide as the water level goes down more than five meters and so the bay basically becomes one muddy beach. Nevertheless there was no way around to take off our shoes and cross the remaining wet batches (on the other side a lot of people pay a lot of money for mud spa and we got it all for free).

After about five hours of walking we reached our tent site called Tonga Quarry which was (surprise, surprise) the remains of a quarry which was operational about a hundred years ago. If we say tent site we basically mean there were batches of land for about ten tents and in fact we were only about 8 people that night. The site was right at a small beach and you couldn’t have asked for a better spot to have home cooked pasta from a camp cooker. We were really smack in the middle of the nature!

After a quiet night and an open-air breakfast we continued our walk but not before discovering a giant bug which was happily sitting on our tent. By now the weather was bright and sunny and it was a perfect day for hiking. Four and a half hour later we arrived at Anchorage where we would spend our second night. The campground was quite a bit bigger and was again located at a beach. Despite the cold water we (excluding Hazel) had a refreshing dip/shower in the sea. For dinner we made our way through about eight packages of instant noddles in all varieties.

The next morning we hiked back to Marahau which was was another four hour walk through the park. We once again enjoyed the beautiful bays, dense jungle and little rivers. We arrived back at our car tired but happy and with a lot of fantastic memories. If you ever have the chance to do it you must go for it!

As last action point of the day we drove on to Richmond near Nelson where we stayed in the Top 10 Holiday Park.  There we rested for the rest of day and for the whole following day.

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