» Travelogue New Zealand: Abel Tasman National Park, Coastal Track

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Nov 13

Abel Tasman Coast Track

Today we walk the first part of the Abel Tasman Coast Track and it's stunning. As our campsite is very close to the start of the track we start walking directly from there at 10.30 am. From the public phone in the carpark in Marahau (where the Park Cafe and the start of the trackare too) we call Abel Tasman Marahau Water Taxis – 0800 80 80 18 – and book a water taxi for 4.00 pm. We want to walk to Anchorage and to get picked up from there. They ask for our credit card number, the one way fare from Anchorage to Marahau is $24 p.p.

Abel Tasman Coast TrackTinline Bay · more Abel Tasman NP pictures more pictures

The Abel Tasman Coast Track is one of the New Zealand Great Walks and extends 51 km from Marahau to Wainui Bay. The track leads at different heights along the coastline and has sidewalks to the bays and the inner park areas. If you walk the whole track you can spend the nights in DOC huts or at campsites (bookings required). Another option – our decision – is to walk parts of the track. The Abel Tasman Coast Track is not a circuit track but water taxis can drop you off and pick you up at any arranged location. Or you can kayak along the coast.

Abel Tasman Coast TrackTinline Bay · more Abel Tasman NP pictures more pictures

It's 11.5 km from Marahau to Anchorage, estimated to 4 hours. That's about right if you walk briskly. Although there's some time left to spend at the dreamlike bays. The DOC leaflets turn out to be a reliable hiking companion. They're thin but contain all the information you need to be well prepared.

Although it's not swimming weather, it's fine for hiking: sunshine and a light breeze, a few clouds. Our chosen part is gorgeous. Most of the time we walk through lush vegetation and bush along the coastline and we get a slight jungle feeling with all the ponga, tree ferns and palms surrounding us. The trunks of the kanuka trees are black and covered with honeydew, so we smell the scent of honey on long sections of the walk :-) From up here we can see all the golden bays with their light blue, darkening to turquoise waters and I'd like to go down to each of them. We have rather short stays at Tinline Bay and Appletree Bay (with the beautiful trees which look so surreal), then we really take our time at Stilwell Bay. Fine powdry sand pleases our feet, the eye dwells on a lush green island.

Stilwell BayStilwell Bay · more Abel Tasman NP pictures more pictures

Arriving at Anchorage there's some time left. We take a look at Anchorage Hut. Certainly quite a good place to spend the night! There are even some mattresses in the hut. Many hikers take a break there and we can anticipate what will be going on here in summer. We walk down to the beach and wait for the water taxi. Quite suddenly it becomes stormy and the temperature drops a few degrees. A group of kayakers heads for the beach quickly. Then our boat arrives. 10 people get on, 3 kayaks are stowed on the back. Water taxis are awesome! It's pure fun to race along the coastline and to see where you've been walking just before. The trip takes about 20 minutes.

In the evening we are pleasantly worn out. After taking a shower we go for dinner at the Park Café. Since we've discovered this place we aren't as keen on cooking anymore. It's so nice here and the food is really delicious. The menu is varyied and the prices are fair. Today we need something hearty. The braised beef is as tasty as expected.

On our way back we admire the beautiful evening light and listen to the bellbirds singing.

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