Abel Tasman coastal track

Beach at Medland Bay campsite. Our tent was pitched just above the bay

We decided to explore the beautiful beaches and rocky coastline of Abel Tasman a little more by walking a section of the coastal track. A number of the track sections are across tidal estuaries and beaches, and so our plans had to fit around the tide times. This proved slightly tricky as low tide was around 9 o’clock (rather unsociable given that the tidal sections were not at the start or end of the walking day). This resulted in us taking the high tide path on at least one section, which was a couple of hours longer than the lower alternative across a bay.

We started at Marahau on the eastern coast of Abel Tasman and headed north towards Totaranui. The coastal path wound up and down over the headlands and was mostly in the bush, but provided pretty views of the coastal scenery at regular intervals. The path itself was extremely well-trod and was about 1.5 m wide at all times! There was certainly no navigational challenge! Such a path was necessary as tourists were frequently dropped off by the water taxis, allowing them to walk a short section of the path, before being collected a little further along the coast. So, frequently one would meet people in flip flops on the path, despite the location being a days walk from civilisation!

Blue sea of Abel Tasman

After about 7 hours, we reached our beach-front campsite at Medland Bay, where there was space for only 10 people. Thankfully the campsite was very quiet, with only one other couple there.

Beach at Medland Bay campsite. Our tent was pitched just above the bay

Over dinner we watched a heron and a kingfisher fishing in the river, and then once it got dark we took advantage of the darkness and stargazed for a while. Once we’d spotted enough satellites, Richard brought out the camera and played with his torch, lighting up the trees on the opposite hillside.

Southern cross over Medland Bay

The next morning, we set off sharpish, so that we could get to the next tidal section of the path (Onetahuti) before too late. We were actually there quite early, so given that the day’s walking was relatively short, we decided to make hot chocolate on the beach!

After a further hour of walking we got to the Awaroa Lodge, where we enjoyed an apple strudel :-). This was the end of our coastal trek as the next section of the path to Totaranui was tidal and uncrossable at that time. So, we spent a few hours on the beach, drying our belongings and swimming (for Richard anyway), and then we were picked up by our pre-arranged water taxi. This was great fun. The boat was fast and the pilot was kind enough to stop to show us a passing blue penguin and a seal colony.

Eating apple strudel at the Awaroa Lodge.
The speedy ride back to Marahau

Series - New Zealand '12

  1. We’re in New Zealand…
  2. Dunedin – Sealife Central
  3. Tramping the Rees-Dart
  4. Ascent of Mount Fox
  5. 45 river crossings before 11.30 am
  6. Sea kayaking at Abel Tasman National Park
  7. Abel Tasman coastal track
  8. Karori 3 hour rogaine
  9. One day in Bangkok

5 thoughts on “Abel Tasman coastal track”

  1. Hmm, “pilot” shirly some mishtake captain?

    Crikey, you guys must have been everywhere NZ has to offer now! Oh no wait, you’ve got Hobbiton to see yet… 😉

    How much longer are you there for?

  2. “Captain” seemed too grand for a little boat… We have been to various places where the Lord of the Rings was filmed, but not Hobbiton itself. We did however come across the Hobbit on location last week!

    Another week … Such is life 😉

    1. It is stunningly gorgeous. 🙂 The boats zipping around and hordes of day walkers that show up at all sorts of odd places does slightly detract from it (as do the large numbers of wasps in the forest), but the beaches are beautiful and the water is clear and not too cold, and the forest right down to the water’s edge is dramatic in places. I’d certainly recommend it to anyone visiting New Zealand (it also gets more sunshine a year than just about anywhere else). :clap:

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