“Returning home is the most difficult part of long-distance hiking; You have grown outside the puzzle and your piece no longer fits.”
― Cindy Ross
I found myself in Abel Tasman again after 4 years and, just like last time, the weather was absolutely awesome.
I wanted to stay at Aquapackers again, but decided to hike rather than kayak in this time.
My journey started at The Barn, a really cosy backpackers right by the beginning of the track. Somehow my brain competely shut down at some point… I arrived so late with the ferry and it took me longer to drive to Abel Tasman than I remembered, so I sent an e-mail to The Barn and told them I’d arrive a day late before I spent the night in Nelson.
When I arrived at The Barn the next day the owner told me he wouldn’t charge me the first day, because I’d let them know that I’d be late. This was pretty generous considering I let them know way after I was due to arrive. Put that “customer service” on top of the very good and clean facilities and comfortable beds and The Barn is a place I recommend to people.
Anyway, I arrived on the 14th instead of the 13th, the owner asked me if I wanted two nights or just the one, which confused me so much I said “just the onw then”, because I now thought I’d booked two noghts and one had already been spent in Nelson. Imagine my surprise when I hiked for 3,5 hours through Abel Tasman the next day, just to arrive at Aquapackers who had me booked for the following day! Haha… omg… But more on that later. First, some all too inadequate pictures of the absolutely gorgeous hike through the first part of the park.
Now, I wasn’t aware of this, but at the beginning of the track you can see where people have left signs for people they love(d), or just funny/weird messages. It was quite funny and some of them a bit touching, the best one was a huge heart with a message, but it was too far out for me to read it or get a good picture.
The coastal track at Abel Tasman is well marked and you can walk as much as you want. The signs are easily spotted and tell you how far along the track you are as well as the calculated time for getting to where you want. I was just going to Anchorage Bay which is widely considered the first stop on the track, but there was at least to families with toddlers walking the track that day and they turned back before AB. On a day like this the track is popular, it’s a fantastic day hike.
The hike from Marahau to Anchorage Bay is slated to take about 3 hrs 50 min, but I bet those two guys that ran past me with their camelbacks covered it in significantly less time 😉 I spent around 3,5 hrs, the last two hours were spent walking at a good talking pace with my new friend Caitlin. Caitlin woke me at The Barn when she arrived, which was good, cause my cell phone ran out of batteries and didn’t wake me… Yeah…
We got to talking and agreed to try and meet up on the trail, luckily we did.
After reaching Anchorage Bay we sat on the beach and chatted until I could get on the Aquapacker boat (they don’t let people on until 16.00) – Caitlin went back to Marahau and I got on the floating backpacker. Sarah and Jimmy were working this day because Chris and his partner just had a baby boy, woop!
Sarah couldn’t find me on the list and told me I was supposed to be there tomorrow, something I quickly realised was true… wow. But apparantly they get guests getting it wrong all the time, so they found me a bunk within 5 minutes.
I met the Searle family, Mark, Jenny, Jacob and Natalie, from Australia. Jakob, Natalie and I started talking when I stood wondering whether to get in the water or not. As Jacob said “you’ve done bungy jumping and skydiving, but you wont get in the water..” – so I had to go swimming, didn’t I? The water was lovely though, so I went for a looong swim. Which… turned out to bite me in the ass. I got sunburned. Again. God damnit.
I wore sunscreen and a lot of it, but forgot to take breaks and reapply while swimming… I’m an idiot.
The Searles were taking a watertaxi further up the track the next day and spending the next three days walking back to Anchorage Bay. If you want to take the trip yourself be sure to have a hut pass. If you don’t carry this on you, valid and paid for, you risk a fine if they find you in the huts. The hut in Anchorage Bay is in a great location, practically on the beach, and looks clean and nice, so I think the longer trek can be quite comfortable too. (You have to carry your rubbish back, no bins around the huts).
The Coastal Track is another of the Great Walks in New Zealand. If you like hiking, go for it 🙂