Walking in Paradise: Great Walk #3

The Abel Tasman Coast Track is a slice of coastal heaven. With its clear, calm ocean waters and wide, well-maintained trail, the track manages an easy balance of outdoor living (tenting, no showers, typical hiker life stuff) with total luxury (five-star views, private beaches, tropical sunshine). It’s a pleasant space to occupy.

We set aside three days for the trek. After waking up in nearby Nelson, we scored two sweet rides to Marahau, the southern terminus of the track. Less than an hour later, we took a short side trail and hit our first beach. This was the rhythm of the Abel Tasman: hike, beach, swim, hike. From Wednesday to Friday, we swam and sunbathed in a dozen bays and coves, all stunningly beautiful, all sparsely populated if at all. We crossed tidal rivers, explored rocky points, and got just a little sunburned. The ocean water was crisp and cold, and in it we glimpsed stingray and herring and scuttling crabs. The coastal forest was lovely, providing welcome shade, and the trail itself was wide and welcoming.

We ate crappy camp food as always, but it seemed less of a chore because of our beautiful surroundings. We were devoured by sand flies at our tent sites, but at least the cold salt water lessened the bite. This was some of the most luxurious trail I’ve ever encountered. If we get the chance, I hope we can come back to kayak along the coast in Tasman Bay.


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