Cliff Threadgold Photography


Abel Tasman Coastal Track

posted on 2019-12-02 09:44:21 in New Zealand

Abel Tasman Coast Track runs through the National Park for a distance of approximately 60 km, plus offshoots to lookouts etc. We decided to break our walk into 5 shorter walks to take a steady and comfortable walk following the knee problems we encountered In Patagonia.

After staying the night in a Nelson campsite, a final shop for fresh supplies, gas and some jandels (flip flops or thongs depending where you are in the world) we headed off to the bus stop at 7:00am to catch the twice weekly bus to Marahau and the start of the track.

Day 1 Marahau to Anchorage

The first day of 12km was quite easy walking, the track was wide, firm some boardwalk and easy to follow. It was warm and sunny  with no clouds but after trekking in Patagonia it felt positively hot And we  both soon had sweat dripping from our brow.   There were lots of people on the track and the campsite at Anchorage was packed,  mainly with school children doing their camps.

Even with all the people about we saw lots of birds including Weka, Tui, Fantail and Black swan. Being late spring many chicks and protective parents were about as well as some birds still sitting on their eggs.


I took one look at the campsite and quickly decided I wanted a sea view, after all the mountains a change was needed. Anchorage is a big sheltered bay with a nice sandy beach suitable for swimming If only the water wasn’t so cold or jellyfish about!!!


Day 2 Anchorage to Bark Bay

Low tide was doing the early shift while we were on the track and with an estuary crossing required at the start of the days hike it meant we had an early start to catch to ensure the river was passable. A slight mis-judged step ended with a boot full of water and a big splash into the other one. Fortunately we only had a short walk of 6km so able to get boots off and into the hot sun to dry off during the afternoon.

With so much spare time I did a couple of small walks to pass the time. On the first I was treated to seeing a South Island Kaka feeding in a fern tree really close to me. it was fantastic to see the bird playing “Parrot” and moving around the branches using his beak to great effect and hanging upside down at times. The colours on the bird, especially under the wings are a joy to see. Unfortunately no pictures with phone camera.

Following yesterday’s stalking of a pied shag today it was an Oystercatcher that I got close to during my afternoon walk. All along the track many of these birds were seen with their distinctive long orange beak propping into the sand.

In the evening just after dinner we were treated to a playful display by 8 Kaka flying between the campsite trees and annoying the local weka – it was brilliant to watch, although a little disconcerting when when they swoop within inches of your face at high speed. The birds are very adapt at making sudden and significant changes in direction at high speed.

Two night running I had a great site for my tent with sea views, in Bark Bay it wasn’t just a sea view I could hear the gentle waves lapping on the sand just metres from my tent as I went to bed. A late high tide means an early start again tomorrow.