I’m finding one of the most enjoyable parts of our grand adventure is the feeling of accomplishment in both physical endurance as well as in logistical planning. Our just-completed three-day hike on the Abel Tasman Track in the most northerly section of New Zealand’s South Island ticked both those boxes.
New Zealand was high on the destination list as we began our world tour planning three years ago. Hiking the Abel Tasman Track became part of the discussion about a year ago. So
early on day one of our hike we stopped and just breathed it all in. Look where we are! We aren’t just talking about it, we are doing it! It’s such a remarkable, joyful, invigorating and even spiritual feeling. Accomplishing goals is my drug of choice.
Our journey was made especially lovely through the help of the Abel Tasman Guides out of Nelson, New Zealand. We knew we did not want to have a guide
lead us on our hike, but we also knew the logistical needs of sleeping and eating on the trek were going to be a challenge. We are not traveling with camping gear and so that is where the Abel Tasman Guides come to the rescue.
We were picked up at our Nelson hotel and transported to Marahau where we parted with our largest pack and kept just a daypack. Our large pack would be transported ahead for us. We then boarded the Abel Tasman Aqua Taxi for the ride to the beginning of our hike.
It was cloudy and drizzly and the sea was quit rough as the boat not only brought us to our destination
safely, but included several side tours into inlets and bays with our skipper describing the history, geology and flora
and fauna of the area. We reached our destination of Totaranui after about two hours. Here is where our
hike would begin. And by the grace of the Maori – the sun came out!
The first day was only about 6 miles and it provided us some of the most amazing scenery I’ve ever seen
in my life. We had been advised to take our time, because we needed to cross an estuary at low tide, which wasn’t until 4:00pm.
We arrived at the estuary just before 4:00 and the
unusually high tide combined with recent flooding from previous days had the water running much higher than usual. We
watched other hikers ford the stream with water up to their chest and waist. We waited about thirty minutes and then decided to give it a go. I didn’t mind getting my shorts wet because I had another pair but I really wanted to keep my shirt dry so I decided to wade across in my bra and shorts. It makes for a good story and the reality is we only got wet up to our upper thighs.
Day one was finished as we arrived at the Awaroa Glamping site. Owner Mike greeted us with beer, wine and a smile. We were his only guests that night and he made us a delicious dinner of edamame, coleslaw and three kinds of pizza in his outdoor pizza oven. We had hot showers and then slept in a tent with a double bed inside. I slept like a rock.
Day two Mike made us breakfast before escorting us back to the trail where we said our farewells and began our trek. This was our longest day and the weather made life grand. Sunshine and blue skies prevailed as we tramped along admiring the interesting plants and birds and spectacular
turquoise water. When we arrived at the next tidal crossing the water was again very high. But here we had the option of adding an hour to our day by
going around and over a headland to avoid wading. We opted to go around. Our total distance on day two was 17 miles.
Glamping tonight was at Anchorage where huge multi-
room tents were set up for us as well as several other trekkers. Dinner tonight was enjoyed with several other couples; a young American couple from California, a young French couple on their honeymoon, a “seasoned” fabulous American couple(just like us!) from Durango,
Colorado traveling with their friends, two “seasoned” fabulous New Zealand couples. We all hit it off
and dined on salmon, salad, potatoes and chocolate brownies, prepared by Chris and the Abel Tasman Guide service.
Day three allowed us to get a bit later start after breakfast as we headed out for a ten-mile final trek. We once again ogled the views, never seeming to tire of it. We ate our lunch and napped for an hour on the golden sand beach at
Apple Tree Bay before arriving at our final destination back at Marahau. Here we joined our new friends for celebratory beers before the two-hour bus ride back to Nelson.
We could not have enjoyed it any more than we did- such a blessing to be here and to accomplish a 32 mile trek and come out smiling on the other end.
And our time in New Zealand has barely just begun! We have more than five weeks to go!
Chapter Six continues…