Day 67: Thursday January 10th, 8.0mi/11.9km
Abel Tasman Start (0.0/5m) to Anchorage Camp (11.9/20m) + 1.0km to camp
We got to sleep in late, since we only need to hike 12km today to get to our reserved campsite, yay! I finally got out of bed at 8am, and then read a book for awhile. The three of us checked-out of the hotel at 10am, and went to the Pak-n-Save to resupply. It was fast, and we were walking to our hitching spot at 11am, when a nice guy named Adam approached us on foot and offered us a ride to our hitching intersection 2km away. We then got the next hitch within 10 minutes from a Swiss couple driving to the beach, and we spent 45 minutes in the car chatting with them. We spent a couple of hours at the beach, swimming, bridge jumping, and having lunch.
We showered off the saltwater, and started our final hitch at 3pm. We had no luck at that spot, so we walked out of town 1km, and a local mother/daughter stopped and gave us a ride all the way to the Abel Tasman track! After a 30 minute coffee & ice cream break, we started the Abel Tasman Track.
The Abel Tasman is one of NZ’s “great walks”, one of eight premier tracks showcasing some of the best scenery in NZ. The Abel Tasman is a 60km point-to-point (not a loop) coastal track, and is quite popular in the summer months. We were lucky to get a reservation for this track, as campsites are limited and fill quickly.
The trail is pretty flat, and never climbs higher than 100m on this first section. We have pretty nice views of Tasman Bay for the afternoon.
Despite being located in a very tropical climate, the trail is never overgrown, and is usually quite wide and well-maintained.
We climb a tiny hill, maybe 80m, and have a view of Anchorage Bay, where we will be camping!
It’s an easy and uneventful walk to Anchorage Camp, and we arrive at 7:30pm to a bustling campsite.
It’s a pretty comfortable camp, as there is a cooking shelter, water taps, flush toilets, and even solar charging for phones. There are 50 tent sites, and most of them were full; I’d guess half the campers here arrived by boat. We talk with a few of them during dinner, and then we head to bed.
Day 68: Friday January 11th, 17.9mi/28.8km
Anchorage Camp (11.9/20m) to Totaranui Camp (40.7/5m)
Sleeping in is fun! We woke up around 7am, and had a leisurely morning, not leaving camp until 8:30am.
After 1km, we crossed our first “low tide” estuary of the day. It is almost completely dry 1.5 hours after low tide, but the sand is wet so we took off our shoes. Dozens of hikers crossed, it was fun to watch!
We continued on, hiking another couple hours, passing probably 50 people. The trail was mostly in the trees, but occasionally a viewpoint would reveal itself.
We are approaching Bark Bay, and the beach looks amazing.
Looking across Bark Bay:
We stop at the Bark Bay hut and have a snack and water. Since there is also an outdoor shower here, we decide to have a swim in the ocean too. After an hour of swimming and lounging, we shower and hike to Awaroa Hut.
I think this is Onetahuti Beach.
It’s hot on Onetahuti beach, and we are tempted to go swimming, but we are also getting sunburned.
Looking down into Awaroa Bay.
We arrive to Awaroa hut, and wait for the low tide, along with a dozen other trampers.
At 6pm (1.5 hours before low tide), the water is low enough to cross, as it’s only knee-deep in a couple of places. There are like 50 people crossing!
We walk the last 7km pretty quickly. Except one small climb, the trail is pretty flat.
We arrive to Totaranui Camp at 7:30pm, and it’s huge. There is even a map to show all the campsites and buildings.
We meet Charlie and Tracy, two women who are also hiking the TA. They are taking a side-trip to explore this track as well! We have dinner, explore the large campground, and chat with other campers. It was a pretty easy and relaxing day, and I’m still falling asleep at 9:45pm!
Day 69: Saturday January 12th, 9.6mi/15.5km
Totaranui Camp (40.7/5m) to Wainui Carpark (56.2/10m)
We woke up a little earlier today, since we have 3 hours of walking to do, and alot of hitchhiking. We were packed up and walking out of camp at 7:15am, along with Tracy and Charlie. Kacka walks fast, and she is in the lead.
It was another nice weather day on the Abel Tasman track.
We have a good pace all morning, and take a break at the last Hut/camp on the trail at 9:30am. I chat with a nice family for awhile, hoping that they will offer us a ride at the carpark. We leave the Whariwharangi Hut at 10am, and have a nice gradual downhill walk to the carpark. Looking down into Wainui bay:
The track became even nicer as we neared the carpark.
The Abel Tasman track even has a finishing arch!
We arrived to the carpark at 11am, and there are a dozen cars parked. But no one is leaving, just more cars arriving. A shuttle bus comes thru, and they offer to take us for $20 to Takaka.
We accept, and a 40-minute ride later, we are standing in Takaka, hitching to Nelson. After an hour of trying, the three of us aren’t having any luck hitching, so I take the $35 bus to Nelson. Kuba and Kacka will have a much easier time hitching as a duo, and sure enough they text me 5 minutes later that they have a ride!
After a long 2 hour ride on the bus to Nelson, I walk to the Countdown grocery and resupply for the next section of the TA. Kuba and Kacka show up 15 minutes later, and after some more food shopping, we start hitching at 6pm. We get a ride at 6:30, and he takes us directly to the Pelorus Bridge Campground! Perfect timing, we still have a half-hour before the campground office closes at 8pm, so we check-in to a campsite. It’s $8, but I’m so tired I don’t care. We setup our tents and fall asleep by 9pm.