Abel Tasman Trail – Day 1

Saturday January 20, 2024
Distance/ Total: 18.9 km / 11.7 mi

I was up at 6:00 and carried my gear downstairs to pack it up. I fixed breakfast and coffee at the hostel then headed across town to meet the Heaphy Bus.

There are 2 hiking / biking tracks near Nelson – The Abel Tasman and the Heaphy Track. The Heaphy bus provides shuttles for both trails.

We loaded up and we’re on the road about 7:45. About 10:30 we arrived at Takaka and I had the option of getting off and waiting there while he shuttled the Heaphy Track hikers to their trailhead or stay on the bus. I opted to get off.

I walked down to a cafe and ordered some coffee and utilized their internet for about an hour. I then headed back to the bus stop (which is at a visitor’s center) and hung out there until lunch. I picked up some fried chicken and fries for lunch and ate them on the back patio of the cafe.

The Heaphy bus returned at 12:45 and took me out to Wainui Bay to start the Abel Tasman. There was a Māori Arch there and I walked through to start my hike.

The trail was in perfect condition as it made a gradual climb up along the cliffs on the coastline. The higher I got the better the views. After awhile the trail turned inland and climbed over the head of the point. Once it reached the top it dropped back down toward Whariwharangi Hut. The hut was close to the bay and I was able to get my first look at the water from the beach.

The trail followed the coastline sometimes in the forest along the beach, sometimes climbing over some cliffs, and sometimes on the beach itself. I passed several small campsites along the beaches before reaching a large “front country” campground at Totaranui. I’m glad I didn’t pick that one. It was 5:00 and I still had 4 km to go.

The next 4 miles was up and over a cliff, down onto the beach, and then across a small estuary to the Waiharakeke campsite. My site for the night.

There were several groups of “weekenders” there when I arrived and they pretty much kept to themselves. As I started fixing my dinner a couple from Portugal arrived and I talked to them about their hike. They are going the same direction I am, but tonight is the only night out campsites line up.

I ate dinner, cleaned up, then crawled in my tent to get caught up on my blogs.

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