Hiking is a popular activity in New Zealand. Marvelous beaches, white snow capped peaks, and clear natural streams all can be found inside the country’s national park system. The South Island’s Abel Tasman National Park, is often missed by tourists. But this offers you an amazing experience of walking the 32 mile (51km) coastal trail and seeing hardly anyone except Mother Nature herself.
Keep in mind though that the coastal trail, while well-maintained, offers limited facilities and mobile phone coverage. If you want to take this adventurous walk keep suitable amount of food and water, proper footwear, cold/wet weather gear, and first aid supplies with you.
In most of the park the only accommodation available is the Department of Conservation huts; you must book them well in advance, especially in summer. They have showers and toilets but you have to do something yourself for the hot water. They have the kitchens but without any gas/electric, cutlery, pans, or other necessities – so you will need to bring it all with you. You should also take a sleeping bag and a pillow with you.
First challenge is to get there. You can fly directly into Christchurch from Australia or Auckland. From Christchurch you will need to take a bus to Nelson or to Mouteka, which lies near the edge of the park. You should prefer Nelson as there is plenty of accommodation choice, reasonably priced supermarkets, and a few good restaurants. You may get any essential provisions you need for this walk on rent from.
Now once you are there, you can start your journey with a tour of the beautiful beaches near Torrent bay and Anchorage Bay. You may decide to spend a night here or after lunch you can continue by following the clear directions on the trail to the Bark Bay. You can decide to call it a day at Bark Bay, the golden sand and crystal blue waters feel great after a long day of walking. On the way out of Bark Bay, in the beginning the route is quite steep, and then levels out. The water becomes even clearer, the sand becomes more golden, and the forests even more greener.
For getting to Awaroa, you will have to cross a chain-link suspension bridge – not for the light of heart, but there is no other way across. Awaroa will be your natural resting point due to its beauty and the plentiful accommodation. You can stay in a hutas as well as the Awaroa Lodge, a luxury hotel with a restaurant. You should try its delicious food and it’s well stocked bar.
On your returning journey, you can take the Abel Tasman inland trail, which is another 23 miles (37.5 km) back to Marahau. If you want to head back to Totaranui, you can take a water taxi or coach service back to Marahau and then any onward destination. It will surely be an adventure of a life time, so book you a direct flight to Christchurch and enjoy the peace of this solitude.