Jamie McHale

Abel Tasman Coastal Track

The Abel Tasman Coastal Track is one of the Great Walks of New Zealand, run by the Department of Conservation. It runs from Marahu to Wainui Bay on the western end of the north coast of South Island. The walk typically takes 3-5 days, I walked the track to Totaranui over three days. I shot a video of my walk on my GoPro:

The first day I walked from Marahu to Bark Bay Hut (24km), combining the recommended first two days into one. The track is well maintained, cutting along the hills and bays at the edge of the sea. I saw a small family of Weka feeding on a beach; they seem fairly friendly towards people.

I paused to have lunch at Anchorage Bay, a beautiful beach where the first recommended hut is located. Beautiful clear water, blue skies and glittering beaches.

The hut is set back behind a small inlet, with the campsite located on a short spur between the inlet and the wider bay.

Day two was 13.5km from Bark Bay to Awaroa Hut. The weather was fantastic. Although this day was shorter than the previous day there was still a fair amount of up-and-down to contend with. I wish I'd brought my walking poles to save my knees on the descents! The weather was pretty hot; I left massive sweat marks on the benches I sat on.

The hut was large, with communal shared-bunk rooms and a filtered water tap. It sits on the edge of Awaroa Bay, which is perfect for a dip to get out of the heat. We were treated to a beautiful sunset over the hills, reflected in the water of the bay.

On the third day I walked from Awaroa Hut to Totaranui. The first part of the walk across Awaroa Bay is determined by the tide times, as you have to wade through water to reach the opposite side. I'd recommend brining a light pair of flip-flops for this part (and to wear in the huts) as the water was too high for boots in places, and the shells are sharp when going barefoot! I spotted some Pied Shags drying themselves on the beaches en-route. I decided to call off the walk at Totaranui, as my knees were fragile from adjusting to walking with a heavy pack, and I didn't want to ruin the Heaphy Track that I was doing two days later.