Monday, October 27, 2008

Abel Tasman Coast Track

I'm not in a mood to really write, but I want to get this blog out. I'm just going to write a couple quick notes, but let the pictures speak mostly for themselves. The Abel-Tasman track is a 3-5 day hike at the north end of the South Island of New Zealand. I did it in 5 days and didn't see the sun until I was approaching the final stop where the bus can pick you up. I know I missed the rain in Antarctica, but this hike made me WAY over it.

The start of the Abel-Tasman track.

Sunset at Appletree Bay on my first night out and my last nice evening.

Abel-Tasman coast line.

Don't be fooled by this picture. The sun wasn't out. It seemed like it would, but I never saw a shadow. Also, the rain came back just a few hours later.

More Abel-Tasman coastline.

Rental vans.

This picture is for my sister. Her friends used to call my mom's Lumina APV minivan the Buck Rodgers Mobile because it looked like a spaceship. Apparently, someone in New Zealand agreed with the idea and ran with it. They have a full rental van fleet and all the vans have geeky names like Picard.

MORE Abel-Tasman coastline.

On one night, I got to campsite that allowed fires. All the others did not. I was super excited because I thought I'd finally get to dry my wet gear and clothes out. I started to build the fire and then checked my matches - drenched. This is what I get for not checking my gear for so long and then using it without checking anything. I decided it was only an hour hike down to the next campsite and it was a big one. I could probably run it in fifteen minutes. I got on my gear and headed over the hill to the next beach. Once there, I found a later and started the run home. I was elated about the prospect of a fire. When I finally got back, I settled into lighting and blowing on the coals to get things started. The fire wouldn't take. Everything was too wet. I probably pulled 20 feet of toilet paper out of the portajohn to try again. I felt guilty, but I was really sick of being wet. Round two went better, but no dice. Round three was more of the same and the lighter ran out of fuel. No fire. Very disheartening.

I should know what this bird is, but can't remember

Just around the corner from my third campsite.

I spent a while reading a book here. So peaceful. I've never been a big beach person. Sand gets everywhere. Too many people. Too hot. Too much sun and I always get sunburned. However, the beach at night is perfect. I love listening to the waves crash and feeling the cold sand between my toes. Two of my campsites were right on the beach and the others were less than a two minute walk to one. If only, it wasn't so wet.

Hanging all my stuff all over the campsite to dry it out EVERY night got old.

Ponga - the Silver Tree Fern that is used as a logo for Kiwi sports teams (i.e. the All Blacks).

Most of the Abel-Tasman hike was in the woods.

Crossing the beach at low tide.

There were a few different tidal crossings on the Abel-Tasman track. Most of them had high tide alternatives, but a few didn't. Those ones you simply had to check a tidal chart and time your hike accordingly. I timed most of mine alright, but still got wet up to my calves. Good fun. It didn't matter too much since I wasn't dry after the first day anyway.

More great Abel-Tasman coast line.

The evening my tent almost blew away.

On my second evening, a wicked storm kicked up. I had my tent out right on the beach like I did the night before. It didn't stay there. The wind pretty much blew it in so I had to move back into the more sheltered spot above. It didn't blow over again, but it still made a lot of racket. I think this was the night I didn't even bother to bring in my air drying clothes when it started to rain because I didn't think they could get much wetter. They were fabulous to put back on in the morning.

The easier way to get around Abel-Tasman - the water taxi.

One evening, I was settling into another one of my quiet camp sites. I was starting to mellow out and was so happy to not be staying in the huts where everyone else was. However, just as that feeling washed over me a loud boat starting pulling into harbor. It was followed by a second boat - water taxis. They must have let off about twenty people to hike from my beach back to town.

One of the tidal crossings.

More fabulous weather on the Abel-Tasman.

Birds at Separation Point.

A startled seal.

This seal and I had a quick heart to heart. I was bounding down the rocks and I got to the rock in the bottom of the picture. As I was about to vault to the next rock, that seal let out a loud roar. It had been sleeping on its rock but in a spot where it was out of sight so I didn't see it. It wasn't happy about being disturbed. I would have never expected a seal to be so far away from the water.

A seal at least 25 feet above the water at Separation Point.

Wanui Bay where the sun finally decided to come out on my last day.

Wanui Bay mussel farms on my ride out.

Kaikoura beach on the ride home two days later - even MORE sun.

Abel Tasman Coast Track (52 km) by the numbers:
  • Day 1: Marahau to Apple Tree Bay campsite 5 km
  • Day 2: Apple Tree Bay campsite to Medlands Beach campsite 15.4 km
  • Day 3: Medlands Beach campsite to Waiharakeke Bay campsite 16 km
  • Day 4: Waiharakeke Bay campsite to Whariwharangi Hut/campsite 10 km
  • Day 5: Whariwharangi Hut/campsite to Wainui Bay 5.5 km


  1. oh you poor thing. way to keep a positive outlook on the experience. :-)

  2. by the way, i forgot to mention how lovely the pictures are. the scenery looks amazing!

  3. This area is beautiful!!! Is this where they filmed Lord of the Rings?

  4. Brody, did you solo-hike this?

  5. Ben,
    I did solo this hike. It was fantastic. I might have only seen 20 people for the entire 5 days out. Of course, I might have seen more without the rain.