With the lockdown underway, it seems hard to believe we are only a week in. I’m beginning to feel it’s the norm already and can’t imagine what it was like, rushing from the gym to an appointment, meeting up with friends and even dinners out. But whatever the new norm will look like, for the time being, we need to stay put, dig deep and go hard to combat this deadly virus.
The reality of the situation and the impact it will have on travel is slowly sinking in as the Government is now talking border controls, with experts estimating 12 to 18 months, or until a Covid-19 vaccine is found.
This will undoubtedly put international travel on hold for the foreseeable future, so we will be looking within New Zealand for our holiday destination.
So here’s a suggestion, the Abel Tasman Coastal Track. As we move from lockdown, I for one will be weary about close contact with others, so walking, camping may be a good first option when branching out.
Abel Tasman Coastal Walk
I’ve actually done this incredible walk twice. Once was 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 ladies we had fun, met people and spent our days lazing on the golden sands of the many spectacular beaches.
More recently, when I walked the Abel Tasman Coastal Track it was a very different experience. At my age, I have a couple of criteria. I won’t carry a pack (other than a small day pack) and it’s mandatory to have a good dinner and a glass of wine at the end of the day. With the help of Abel Tasman Guides we completed the walk in three days, stayed in great accommodation and enjoyed some lovely food and wine.
So here’s a post, on how to walk the Abel Tasman Coastal Track in comfort.
Walking 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.
As I mentioned, Abel Tasman Guides helped us with our itinerary and I would highly recommend them. Owners, Chris and his father Wally provided us with a seamless experience. 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.
Our luggage was transported each day to our next destination so we only carried a small day pack.
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 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. The rooms were basic but comfortable and the lodge has a lovely feel. We opted for dinner at the Pizzeria, but there was a lodge café and a la carte restaurant.
Night three we stayed at Ratanui Lodge in Golden Bay. Owned and operated by two great guys, they looked after us well. 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.