Solo Hiking The Abel Tasman Coast Track - A New Zealand Great Walk - Episode 3
What if I told you, this place was once named Murderers Bay. Abel Tasman, a Dutch explorer. While on expedition on the 13th of December 1642 they saw land, becoming the first Europeans to site New Zealand. Anchored not far off the coast, some of his men set out in a small row boat. They ran a foul of Ngati Tumatakokiri, the local iwi who lived in the area.
As Abel Tasman writes himself, we saw seven more boats put out from the shore, they began to paddle so furiously and struck the boat. Upon this the other natives with short thick clubs overcame them by main force. Four of his men were killed. Tasman raised their anchor and left, naming it Murderer's Bay.
127 years would pass before the next recorded encounter between European and Maori. Good morning from the beginning of the Abel Tasman track. Number of days on the track, five. Number of days of expected rain, five.
I have been very lucky I don't think it's properly rained on any hike for the past year that I've been on so I guess I deserve some rain. As you can see I am by myself this time so this will be my first solo hike in New Zealand. Are you ready? Day One Marahau Shelter to Anchorage campsite. Distance: 12.4 kilometers. Time: Approximately four hours.
You'll get a gentle introduction for what's in store on your five-day journey. Walking amongst the beach trees, which is the dominant forest cover of the western side of the South Island. You'll also be popping in and out of Bays, swimming spots could be endless, on a sunny day. So it's definitely raining I'm thankful it's not windy though considering I'm right next to the ocean but the rain is meant to be the worst today and tomorrow I think about 12 millimeters each day which is a fair chunk and maybe some thunderstorms tomorrow. Walking in the rain is not so bad I think it's when you get to Camp then you get pretty sick of the rain, but so far so good. It is on this trip that I truly get to understand the personality of one of New Zealand's native birds the Weka. Little did I know what was to come, a battle of my own kind, but there's
more on that later.[Music] So I've just stopped to have lunch at one of the little campsites that's off the track, this campsite is actually so nice it's literally right next to the beach. Look at that. But it's still raining so I kind of have to be quick but I really needed to take the pack off. I'm gunna eat my energy for the remaining hour and a half. Akersten Bay is named after a man William Akersten.
Who amoung many things in 1865 is known for arresting William bully Hayes the semi-pirate dubbed the terror of the South Seas. It seems every corner of the ocean here, has a story to tell. Every single time I go on a hike I have an internal battle about whether I bring my broad-rimmed hat or my cap. This hike I chose to bring the cap and its the most Nifty little rain shield. It fits perfectly under the hood of your rain jacket, so if you're hiking in the rain that's that Pro tip for you. This was the beginning of my realisation that this truly was a solo hike. 50 tent sites
and not a single other person camping alongside me. So the question remains which side should I pick? I tried to strategically place myself with the shelter right there so in the morning if it's raining I can duck over and pack my stuff without getting wet and then on the other side of me that way is the toilet, so I think I did all. Here marks the very beginning of the war against the humans by the Weka. Step 1: Suss and size out your opponent. Step 2: Assess what armory the humans are carrying.
Step 3: Initiate first attack, pull out whatever you can from their tiny little nylon homes. Um let me show you something... USB charging ports at a campsite. I've taken the liberty and I am charging my GoPro but that's insane. Here is another campsite novelty that I just keep getting weirded out by these novelties. Treated drinking water, treated.
Good morning, it is absolutely beautiful walking along here this morning kind of that golden hour the sand is like golden in colour, its not raining that will come later but man those Weka birds. Crazy. They kept pulling things out of my tent. At one stage my sleeping bag was halfway out from under my tent I think they were able to get my zips and do them undone so I ended up having my zips up at the top so worked around that.
Those kiwi birds man. Anyway look at this. This is the hard point of do we take the low tide track which is 30 minutes or do we take the high tide track and get to see Cleopatra's pool but that adds on about another hour at least to the trip. Left or right.
What do you think? In reference to a Doctor Who episode when given the choice left or right it's usually in your best interest to turn left so, I have taken the high tide track even though I was in the within the time frame to take the low tide track, you can sort of see through the trees where you would have crossed. This Cleopatra's pool better be worth it. Another side track that I spotted called Cascade Falls it's straight uphill. Normally I don't do that many side trips if I'm by myself unless they're super short, but it's still quite early in the morning and it's a waterfall I mean can't miss any waterfalls. Day Two: Anchorage campsite to Bark Bay campsite distance: 11.5 kilometers Time: Approximately
four hours. I can vouch for the side trips today there is something incredibly refreshing about the moss covered rocks and crystal-like water that you'll pass by. I'm being followed by bird. May we please appreciate the following clip of this fantail joining in on the hike. It is said that in Maori mythology the fantail when seen inside the house is a messenger bringing news of death from the gods to the people. Luckily for me there were no houses around.
Man it is so nice to be able to sit and it not be raining. I'm just at the torrent Bay campsite so it there is a little toilet here heaps of um table and chairs and a nice view. Look at this.
Walking shorts and t-shirt. I think I've got about two hours to go. It's a good number. I just tried to pitch my tent fastest I've ever pushed a tent and dumped all my stuff inside because this is the view from the campsite.
Look at that. and I and gonna attempt to swim. I can swim. I shouldn't say attempt.
I will be swimming. There's a Weka, just pulled my bag out. Let's go give him a visit shall we.
What are you doing there mate? Touching my bag are we? Looks like I gotta sit here and protect my bag. I don't even know what you're doing now. I was just speaking to the doc Ranger Department of Conservation Ranger and she they really do check up on you as in make sure you're not illegally camping. Every single time whether you're camping or at a Hut they've got their little book and they are tiking your name off.
But she said that by 8 A.M in the morning the worst of the rain will have already passed so most of the rain will come tonight, but it's meant to be about 25 millimeters. So I'm hoping, hoping my tent holds up. I'm gonna get my little house organised and maybe I'll say goodnight.
Goodnight see you tomorrow. Good morning. Last night I did not sleep very well because there was a mouse. Not that I'm afraid of mice or anything but more just the fear that it would chew through something, and I'm a very light sleeper so all of its little pitter patterning around I yeah I woke up constantly. There's also a bit of lightning around last night and which is kind of cool.
Day three: Bark Bay campsite to Aworoa campsite distance 13.5 kilometers time: approximately four and a half hours. Another bridge another puddle another camera setup. Today you will reach the halfway point of your journey, there are a few memorable moments on this day starting with the Tonga Quarry. This Quarry was once home to several large buildings. All that remains is the concrete winch base and iron posts.
but these ruins mark a story. During the quarries operational times around 1907 Granite blocks were cut from this very Hillside for buildings in Nelson and Wellington I ended up bringing 3 luxury items on this hike, one was this microfiber towel another was my bathers and another was a book, I haven't read my book yet but this microfiber towel has been a godsend. I'm using it as a bit of protection for my camera to keep it out of the weather. So I can show you my little contraption that I'm doing, basically my camera slips in there and then I put my towel over the top and then this is a just a little day pack by Sea to Summit one of those little foldable day packs, basically I put it up zip it up voila.
While I Ponder upon my ingenious engineering it's worth noting that the beach we just walked on Onetahuti Bay is one of the longest stretches of beach within the Abel Tasman. Made it. Some of these camping spots have real nice fluffy grass I don't know if anyone's going to turn up later again I'm by myself at the moment but I'm gonna put my tent on the fluffiest Green Spot. I'm also going to go for a swim which is going to be so so refreshing.
Let's go. So I just discovered that that mouse last night, did in fact chew through my tent and through my pack let me show you here's the little entryway into my tent and in my pack right there. I hiked for a whole day and didn't even notice.
but there's no hole in my food bag so I don't know what the purpose was he didn't get very far. Also he made the hole right next to the bladder hole could have gone through there. 15 years of hiking never had any problems with mice. My poor pack my poor tent, looks like the duct tape's coming out.
So hopefully you can see me okay maybe I'll do this. Today is the day where we have one of the inlet crossings that you can only do about one hour and a half either side of low tide and if you don't cross then, then you don't cross at all. So I got up early, well somewhat early about 6am and what's the time now it's 7:24. I think low tide is about 8:06. so going good for time. Yeah today will be the biggest day but we're nearing the end so getting a bit of that post hike hotel room excitement.
I don't know if I can cross this without getting wet feet. To think I was swimming in this. Find the shallowest part, it's definitely knee-deep.
So you probably can't see but I'm heading towards the little orange marker just there. Made it. It says it takes about 25 minutes to cross which is probably about accurate, it doesn't look far but, its far. Let the Day begin. Day Four: Awaroa campsite to Whariwharangi Bay campsite.
Distance: 16.9 kilometers. Time: Approximately five and a half hours. After crossing Awaroa Inlet. The track alternates from sandy beaches to regenerating kanuka-covered headlands. Possible warning of switchbacks. You'll pop out briefly into Totaranui campsite and find the nearby Ngarata Homestead.
It was built in 1914 with Timber from the local Sawmill. The building is now one of only two remaining homesteads in the Abel Tasman National Park. The thing about the Abel Tasman Coast track is there are so many campsites so many bays and coves you really could spend forever exploring the place. My thoughts at this time were maybe I'll just remain here on the sand eating my Snickers. but the hike must go on. Trying to stick the GoPro in a tree.
We lost a leg. There's a nice ocean behind me if I can make it work So it's day four and I'm just starting to Crave real world food. It's always funny what you crave on a hike.
On the Overland Track all I wanted when I finished the track was an apple and I went to the market when we finished and there werw just apples everywhere, and I got my Apple. When I hiked the cape to Cape track, all I wanted was strawberry milk and a sausage roll and when I got to the lighthouse the cafe there, they had both of those things. On this particular hike normally, normally I just crave KFC when I finish naturally, but on this particular hike all I want is a passion fruit that's what I've got in my head and nice passion fruit. oh my gosh team all I have wanted this entire time is some sunshine so things can stop being damp.
I've literally sprawled everything out literally everything I own is damp even the casing for my plb. but okay so sprawled everything out everything's getting a good dose of sunshine and even the little clothesline is finally in the Sun. my tent. oh my gosh. um but really cool campsite the grass is really nice and soft and walking around with bare feet feels really good but we've just got a little kitchen sink and again plenty of spots to choose from.
and the hut is that way it's actually an Old Homestead and the beach is that way so I just came from that way and then tomorrow I will head that way. The end of the day called for more stretching and beloved Tiger Balm recovery before checking out Whariwharangi Bay Homestead. It was last inhabited as a Stockman's hut in 1926.
It was restored by the department of conservation in the 1980s and now acts as your final night's Refuge as hikers. Unless of course you're like me and you love your fluffy patches of grass. All right we are on home stretch pretty sure today is just straight uphill and then straight back down. I was speaking to Paul who is the ranger there but he was recommending that I do a little side trip when I get to the car park stash my bag and go out to taupo point which I think is an hour and a half round trip. I'm not sure if I mentally prepared my body for any extra walking but that's meant to be the first sighting from Abel Tasman. and full circle we come day five: Whariwharangi
Bay campsite to Wainui Bay. Distance 5.7 kilometers. Time: Approximately two hours despite the time constraint something was drawing me to go almost as a way to solidify my gratitude for the solo exploration. I tried to motor down to wanui Bay it is now 9:40. and I can see the sign I'm 10 minutes away from Wanui or this taupo point it says one hour so if that was two hours I would still make it back here just before 12.
So I've stashed my pack I've got my little day pack we're gonna try and go, I figured I'm this close I'm might as well. I don't know if I'm ever going to be back here to see this particular point so we're gonna pretty much motor it there and we'll see you there. There she is stashed in a tree. I am not the first to be here and I'm certainly not the last.
The trees the oceans the animals the mountains they all exist outside of human culture. It's one of the things above all else that we share. Interconnectedness through nature it's not seen or heard directly but rather a Feeling. Nature has been our teacher over and over again, while it's without words it speaks a universal language to learn from her is to learn about ourselves. Next time you look out onto the Horizon take a moment to cherish its constant energy. Reclaim the vibrancy that silently reigns within us all.
What do you feel?