From the Awaroa Hut to the Whariwharangi (“fari farengi”) Hut is also typically a 2-day hike but again, there was that departing flight I needed to make, so I did it in one. Definitely take the two days if you can. At Awaroa I ran into two ladies who were also fast tracking so we did the hike together. Pink shirt (below) was one of the ladies, an Australian tour director who was testing the Abel Tasman Track for a tour she was organizing next year and her 82-year old mother, who did the whole track with a 30 pound backpack. Did I mention tour director had just had foot surgery and mom had a double hip replacement?
Beautiful scenery along this stretch too, however a very close encounter with a seal was the highlight. We noticed him while hiking across the beach. Apparently ‘his’ beach since as we crossed over he barked at us. Luckily seals are slow on sand so we were able to snap a few photos then scurry over a boulder hill to the other side.
The Whariwharangi Hut is the smallest on the track. Most people never make it to this hut since its at the far northern reaches of the park. Its interesting in that it used to be an old farm house, now outfitted sleep about 10 people in bunks. Here be on the lookout for Wekas, a cheeky, wingless bird who will steal things out of your backpack and run away.
UL: Low-tide crossing on the track from Awaroa
UR: Oh yawn, another beautiful Tasman view
Lower: Separation Point, Gannet re-colonization
Upper: Seal encounter
LL: Seal, happy that we were leaving
LR: Arrival at Whariwharangi
Left: Whariwharangi Hut
Right: Cheeky Weka
From the Anchorage Hut to the Awaroa Hut is typically a 2-day hike but I needed to do it in one. Definitely take the two days if you can, the scenery along this stretch is incredible. Just to make things more challenging, I detoured a few miles off track to Cleopatra’s Pool, a ‘swimming area’ where a stream pools up. While the water was warmer here than in other places, it was not warm enough for me. It was, however, a good photo op of other people who apparently enjoy swimming in ice water.
Suspension bridges and vistas over the Tasman dominated my almost 12-hour hike until I reached the Awaroa Hut. Around this stretch you need to be aware of tides, since some of the paths are completely under water at high tide. I almost made it before high tide, almost.
Note to self – get waterproof boots.
UL: Cleopatra’s Pool, brave swimmer
UR: One of many suspension bridges
LL: Peekaboo Tasman view
LR: Trekking through sand
Upper: Tasman views
LL: Another impossibly beautiful beach
LR: Arrival at Awaroa Hut
If you want to do one of the Great Walks of New Zealand but Kepler and Roteburn sound a little too strenuous, I’d recommend the Abel Tasman Track, which runs along the north west coast of the South Island near the city of Nelson. Its definitely less taxing overall but there are still some steep grades. At least you will be distracted by wide sweeping views of the disturbingly aquamarine color of the Tasman Sea, which appears continuously.
I was going to post all the Abel Tasman photos in one batch but there were too many. These are from the first day of my 3-day trek, from the entry to the Anchorage Bay Hut. Typically Abel Tasman is a 5-day trek but I had to fast-track it to make my flight back to the States.
Anchorage Bay Hut is the newest hut on the track and definitely the most comfortable. It butts right up to the sea; something about hearing the waves at night makes me fall fast asleep even in a room full of other people. Or maybe it was the hike itself, who knows?
UL: Entry to Abel Tasman Track
UR: Frankenweenie, the travel mascot
LL: Golden Beaches, low tide
LR: Blue-green water, lone kayaker
Above: Anchorage Bat Hut and surroundings
Left: Driftwood Art, a common scene on coastal tracks
Right: Makeshift concert. Aqua Shorts harmonized like an Indigo Girl (crappy picture courtesy of my old iPhone5 and poor lighting, you’re welcome!)