On our last weekend in NZ we had the pleasure of walking through yet another New Zealand national park. This time it was Abel Tasman at the North West of the South Island.
Abel Tasman National Park is known for its beaches and lush forests. As with most National Parks in NZ this one has a multi day “Great Walk” associated with it and has lots of campsites and huts along the way for those needing somewhere to stay. Luckily for us, as we were short on time, it is also one of the more easily accessible parks with many options for day hikes. As it is based on the coast much of the access is via the water. Some people choose to kayak in and hike out. We decided to take the more leisurely option of getting a water taxi in some of the way hiking along and then getting the water taxi back.
We began the day taking the water taxi from Marahou to Torrent Bay via Apple Island. The watertaxi drivers do their best to show you around and point things out as they go but this is certainly more about transport than cruising.
After a brief look at some seals on an offshore Island we landed at Torrent Bay and began our hike up the coast. As we were hiking along the coast there was minimal altitude change the whole day. However, this change regularly occurred when passing between beaches meaning that we regularly rose and then descended to the next beach. We began our first up from Torrent Bay and then down to Medlands Beach. Then up again through the ferns and trees to drop down again at Bark Bay. The rise and fall allows you to see out along the coast and down to beaches that you can then experience as you go down again.
We were fortunate enough to reach Bark Bay when the tide was out so we were able to cross the bay using the low tide crossing (across the beach) instead of the alternative (and slightly longer) high tide crossing.
After Bark Bay and the subsequent rise the walk through the forest down to Long Valley Creek and then around to the start of Tonga Bay was stunning. Like the morning we were surrounded by ferns, tree ferns and the dabble of sunlight. But this part of the forest felt quieter, more remote and less trampled by people. Perhaps it was the time of day or my mood? Either way I’m sure that what we experienced there was amongst the best Abel Tasman has to offer and I was glad we caught some of it.
The final stretch took us to Tonga Quarry Camp and then on to Onetahuti Bay where we waited for the boat. It was nice end to the day to tip our toes in the sea and enjoy the afternoon sun before the taxi ride back to civilisation.