Jan & Lio

Summer 2014/15

Jan & Lio
Community Outdoor Nation Jan & Lio Abel Tasman Coastal Track

Abel Tasman Coastal Track

Jan & Lio

March 2015

  • Before leaving the south island, we wanted to have one last memorable experience. The trip had been a mix of beautiful landscapes, generous people and hot weather. We both wanted to complete a “great walk” before leaving the country so we decided it would be the Abel Tasman coastal track. We went to the local i-site in Motueka and a lovely lady helped us sort everything out, from kayak hire to the water taxi and booking the campgrounds. You have to book everything in advance otherwise you’re not allowed to stay on the campsites. We had the ambitious plan to complete all 60 k’s in a mere 4 days and then take the water taxi back to base.

    Since arriving in New Zealand we wanted to do some sea kayaking and we decided Abel Tasman national park was the best place for us to do it. So the first 15 km’s of the track we did by kayak. The first ten minutes where a bit awkward as we hadn’t used pedals before to steer. After that we were an oiled machine and paddled synchronised. We had the freedom to stop whenever we wanted on whatever deserted beach we wanted and so we did. Having lunch here, a snorkelling session there and just a swim somewhere else. The coast truly is extraordinary in the golden bay. After conquering the mad mile with gushing headwinds we arrived in Anchorage where we would trade the paddle for our hiking boots and after a short rest we were on track for the last 10 k’s of the day. Spirits were up and we soon arrived on beautiful beach of Bark bay where we would spend our first night in the park. We had our dinner on the beach and marvelled the beautiful view from the bay.

    On the second day we were overheating quite a bit and started fantasizing about cold beers. It was then that we saw a little sign in the middle of the bush that pointed to a lodge with café. At first we thought of it nothing but a fata morgana but as we came closer and heard the cheerful laughter and chatter, we realised it truly was like an oasis in the desert. In our dirty tramping clothes we were a bit underdressed for the lodge but they served us nonetheless. We had our cold beer and a plate with bread and dips. After this little pit stop we had to hurry to make it to the tidal crossing in time. As there are no alternative routes it was imperative we crossed it at low tide. Luckily we got there well in time to be able to rest up before the final kilometres. It was there that we met two Belgians who were going the other way. Lio was suffering from severe blisters and they were kind enough to give her a Compeed to relieve some of the pain. The flipside was that now I had to carry her across every wet patch and stream we came across because she couldn’t take off her shoes. When we reached the campground we found ourselves a nice little spot in the shade and put up the tent. After that we went for a swim in the sea and had ourselves a feed and a good night’s sleep on our Explorer Kiwi Camping sleeping mats.

    The next day we found our rubbish bag raided by a possum and we had to spend some ten minutes picking everything back up. The motto of the track is “carry out what you carry in” and we took it by heart. The final day we would have to complete little over 20 kilometres. On this part of the track there were a lot less hikers and most of the day it was just us and the thousands of cicadas that revved their engines as we walked past them. Sometimes I’d slap a tree and then they would fly off towards Lio giving her a fright. Or you’d be taking a photo and they’d land on you’re arm or finger, grabbing it with their little claws.

    When we got to the last campsite we were welcomed by a couple of wekas (birds). We pitched our tent and they hung around a little longer.

    As we had our last meal (noodles, again), we decided we would get 5 things each from the shops when we got back after the trip, in Motueka to reward ourselves. The items ranged from Burger King to chocolate, from crisps to beer/wine. We can assure you we had pleasant dreams about food that night.

    The last day we took the water taxi back to Maharau, where we had left the car. The skipper showed us around the golden bays before loading us onto a tractor’s trailer and driving(!) us on the road to the water taxi base. When we got back to Cindy, she was hotter than a sauna as she had been standing in the sun for 4 days. We quickly drove to Motueka and indulged in everything we had dreamed of.

    It was a truly remarkable experience. Even though there were heaps of people on the tracks, it’s still one of the most beautiful things we have ever seen. The golden beaches, the cicada chorus and the narrow tracks make this a must do for everyone into hiking when in New Zealand.

    Tips and Tricks for Abel Tasman:

    Pack enough food, you don’t want to be hungry. * Take bandages, lots of bandages (especially Compeed). * Think light! Choose a lightweight tent (for example Kiwi Camping Weka 3). * One sleeping bag should be enough for two people (use as a blanket). * Wear good boots!