Day Trip Into Abel Tasman National Park

IMG_3570

There are a number of national parks and excellent day and multi-day tramps in New Zealand. The many kilometers of tracks in Abel Tasman National Park are among the most beautiful and easiest to access. About 40 minutes out of Nelson on the top of the South Island of New Zealand, the park stretches some kilometers along the coast allowing easy access by boat. Many of the hikers take a water taxi to one of the drop off points and then spend a few days walking back.Up early to catch the bus out to Kaiteriteri, we had clear, sunny weather for the day. It started a bit cold but promised to be beautiful after the sun came up and we could no longer see our breath. We passed many apple orchards on the way out while attempting to absorb the incredible amount of information our interesting and opinionated bus driver threw at us. How many tons of apples does New Zealand export? Where does it all go? What types of apples do they grow in this region? What do they taste like? I can't remember any of the answers but this guy could tell you without even blinking.Finally hitting the edge of the park, we hopped on a catamaran taxi that cruised out to Anchorage. The scenery was amazing. The bright sunshine helped as we slid past beautiful beaches, huge rock formations and a pile of seals baking in the sun. Arriving at our destination, the catamaran pulled up close to shore extended the ramp down to the sand and we were off. After a few photos of the beach we just found ourselves deserted on we head into the bush anxious to see the views ahead.IMG_3562From Anchorage back to Warahau there are a couple routes possible. The beach track is about 12 kilometers taking you along the beaches and low on the hills in the woods. The inland track is a bit more adventurous heading in from the beaches and to the tops of the hills. Originally we had planned to go a bit further along to Bark Bay and walk all the way back, giving us more to see and a longer walk. At the boat though we discovered they don't allow you to go any further than Anchorage on our trip any more because of the amount of time it takes. Too many people were getting ambitious on the track and coming in late.With the longer walk along the beach out of the question, my group headed up the inland track not quite sure what it would be like or what we would see. We were rewarded with amazing views of the beaches and out over the straight from the tops of the hills. The track was definitely much steeper and longer than I had thought it was going to be but most of us were up to it and took it in stride. A few people grumbled and complained every time we hit a steep section but were very happy to hit the downhill sections.IMG_3634The trailhead ends at a bridge just outside the township of Marahau. A couple of us slipped off our shoes set off straight across the expanse of beach that separated the water from the town while the others stuck close to the trail and stopped at the bridge. We weren't quite sure where the bus was supposed to pick us up for the return ride so we rocked up to a picnic table in town by a small shop and lounged in the sun. After an ice cream on the beach and collecting everyone that came with us out to the park we were on our way back to Nelson attempting to hear the random commentary from the driver.