A day hike in Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand is a scenic treasure as long as you can stifle your fear of missing the boat and becoming stranded in the bush. I’m pretty much a city girl, accustomed to instantaneous car, taxi and subway travel, so I’ve got to admit this fear did enter my mind, especially since I was traveling alone.
Abel Tasman is a vast area of untouched wilderness on the northern coast of the South Island of New Zealand. The nearest city with an airport, accommodations and shops is Nelson, although the airport is so modest that one claims one’s bag by lifting it directly from the luggage cart. Nelson is also convenient to many lovely vineyards, and visitors can keep busy wine tasting as well. (Stay tuned for details on that!)
A great way to enter Abel Tasman is to catch the water taxi at Kaiteriteri, about an hour’s drive north from Nelson. You can examine the schedule and buy your tickets online, and pack your picnic as well as your camera. On the boat, you can ride about 30 minutes to Anchorage/Torrent Bay where you can take a lovely hike, and then watch for the boat to return for a quick pickup two hours later. On the summer day that I made the journey, the surf was choppy and passengers on deck got quite wet. The drop off point is a deserted beach where there are toilets near the Department of Conservation shelter, but no food or drink, so you don’t want to miss that boat when it returns. It’s the only way to get home, and I didn’t have the food or camping equipment to make an overnight stay comfortable.
Here are a few of the wonderful views from the hike to the point. I was nervous about getting back on time, not being familiar with the hike and the time it would take me with stops for photography. My anxiety apparently clouded my mood, and I doubted that the hike would be very scenic. Two days before, I was in Milford Sound — which is so beautiful that it just blows your mind. For that reason as well, I was prepared to be disappointed. I wasn’t disappointed. See for yourself.
Lastly, I caught the water taxi, two hours later. I even got back to Kaiteriteri in time to drive to the Rimi Vineyard before it closed at 4:30 and taste their heavenly Chardonnay.