On the 10th to the 14th of February, Femke and I completed 4 of 5 days of the planned great hike.
Here’s a run-down on what happened.
Day 1: Marahau to Anchorage
The day started drizzling with rain. With horror we looked at the skies and considered pulling out, but the office at the park stated that the day was expected to fine up so we decided to go. This was also the first multi day hike for both of us so we didn’t know what to expect. First the backpacks were so heavy and we really had to watch our balance as we walked.
So we set off in the overcast and gloomy looking day to Anchorage. But even with the wet and grey morning we still saw impressive views. (A shame my camera fogged up a bit!) It was a tough 5 hour hike and it rained the entire way which did not help. On the last hill coming down into Anchorage the path had turned into pure mud and we had to be ultra careful as it became very slippery and risked sending us over the edge if we slid too far! However once we arrived, the weather improved considerably and we enjoyed the rest of the afternoon.
Day 2: Anchorage to Bark Bay
This was the shortest walk of the trip and we had our first tidal crossing. We discovered the importance of taking sandals on the Abel Tasman (we overlooked this on the first due to our concerns with the weather) as they are vital for all the tidal crossings! For this first crossing we used our boots and ended up having wet feet for the rest of the day.
This was a mistake we did not repeat again for the rest of the trip! The weather was better than the first day and we got to Bark Bay just after noon. The camp site was very very windy (kept the mozzies off us!) but the main beach was sheltered from the wind so we spent most of the afternoon there just relaxing and soaking up the suns rays. At the end of the day there were some brilliant sunsets views. I enjoyed the Bark Bay site.
Day 3: Bark Bay to Awaroa
We set off early to make the first of 2 tidal crossings before high tide came in. The first crossing was just north of Bark bay so that was not an issue. Then we had to up a very steep incline in order to make the second tidal crossing. We had to hurry for this one as if we missed it there was no “alternative route” like on most of the other crossings. We powered there and saw the crossing itself was only about 4 metres wide! After a rest we crossed over and put our dry shoes back on and headed for Awaroa. My feet were really starting to hurt this time and as we approached Awaroa it was a king tide, so some sections of the track were underwater. Since we forgot our sandals these had to be covered barefoot which was not pleasant, since there were a few rocky sections. I was very glad when we finally got to the campsite at mid afternoon. My feet were so sore. I can remember just plonking down on the grass and not wanting to move at all. Awaroa was a sheltered campsite which meant the mozzies were out in force for us. We had to constantly spray ourselves to ensure we were not eaten alive.
Day 4: Awaroa to Totaranui
Fatigue was starting to set in as we packed up the tent and made our way to Totarunui. What should have been a 1.5 hour walk took us 2.5 hours as my sore feet slowed our progress. We were to stop there for lunch and continue for another 5 hours to Whariwharangi Bay.
It was at this time I said to Fem that I would not be able to continue. I knew that Fem was very sore too, but her sheer determination was what was keeping her going. At Totaranui we also saw that the weather forecast was for showers for the next day. So a combination of me saying “I have had it!” and the bad weather, we decided to end it there and catch a water taxi back to Marahau.
Luckily the water taxi stopped at Tonga Island and Fem was able to get some good shots of some seals lazing about on the rocks.
Afterwards we booked a room at a lodge in Motueka for 2 nights for some R&R and a massive steak at a recommended place in town! All up we covered about 37.5km, the Abel Tasman was completed!
For more photos click here for the full photo galleries.