I am in the process of trying to knock of New Zealand’s great walks and I’ve recently done the most beautiful, the Abel Tasman Coast Track. However, at my age I have a couple of criteria. I won’t carry a pack (other than a small day pack) and it is mandatory to have a good dinner at the end of the day with a glass of wine!
So far I’ve walked the Milford Track and are doing it again in a couple of months, the Routeburn Track, the Whanganui Journey and the Abel Tasman Coast Track twice – well sort of.
I walked it a long time ago, longer than I care to remember. With not much to do on New Years’ eve I set off with my sister to walk the coastal track. We were well and truly weighed down with heavy packs; a canvas tent, excessive amounts of food and several goons of wine. We spent eight days in the park and didn’t even make it to Totaranui, which is a tale in itself. But being a couple of young chicks we had fun, met people and felt completely safe because it’s New Zealand after all.
When I walked the Abel Tasman recently it was a very different experience. Firstly, we completed the walk in three days, stayed in great accommodation and enjoyed some lovely food and wine at the end of each rewarding day.
So here’s how to walk the Abel Tasman Coastal Walk in comfort
Just as an aside the Abel Tasman Coast Track can be enjoyed by all ages, all levels of fitness and can be walked or kayaked. It’s just a matter of deciding how you would like to do it and then either piecing together your itinerary or engaging one of the many companies in the Nelson region to help you.
In walk is just over 60 km from the beginning of the track at Marahau to the Wainui Inlet.
We got Abel Tasman Guides to help us with our itinerary and I would highly recommend them. Owners, Chris and his father Wally provided us with a seamless experience, having put together our itinerary. They picked us up from the B&B we were staying at in Nelson and transferred us back to Nelson at the end of the walk.
Luggage:Our luggage was transported each day to our next destination so we only carried a small day pack
Lunches:Delicious packed lunches were provided daily
Night one we glamped at The Anchorage as there is no lodge. It was excellent with a comfortable double air bed, delicious cooked dinner and breakfast and of alcoholic refreshments. Abel Tasman Guides are the only company to have a concession with DOC to glamp. The only draw-back was the lack of showering facilities.
Night two was at Awaroa Lodge. Comfortable basic rooms, but the lodge has a lovely feel. We opted for dinner at the Pizzeria, but there is a lodge café and a la carte restaurant.
Night three we stayed at Ratanui Lodge in Golden Bay. It’s a delightful lodge, owned and operated by two great guys. Peter, one of the owner meet us at the and at the end of the track with a glass of wine before transporting us back to the lodge.
If you are planning a trip to the Abel Tasman National Park these are your a few useful tips
- You can walk or kayak or do a bit of both.
- You can opt for a day trip or do the whole park in as many days as you like but 3-4 is the norm.
- There are two tidal inlets on the track, one just after The Anchorage and the Awaroa Inlet. Make sure you are aware of low tide times as they can only be crossed 1.5 hours before low tide or up to 2 hours after. Take water shoes to cross the inlets.
- There are several water taxi companies operating between Marahau and Totaranui providing flexibility if you don’t want to walk the whole track.
- The most popular places to stay are at the Anchorage, Awaroa and Totaranui although there are many smaller huts and campsites along the way.
- DOC provides a number of huts and camping grounds in the park, but these MUST be booked in advance – $14 to camp and $32 for a bed in a hut.