It was an early start with the tour bus collecting us at 7:20am from the hostel but this did give us beautiful views across the bay at sunrise as we made our way towards Kaiteriteri where we caught a water taxi into the Abel Tasman National Park.
The water taxi was smaller than I expected but they explained the usual boat was in for repairs during the off-season but it was fine because there were only 8 of us. We headed up the coast to our first stop, the Split Apple Rock. The name is self-explanatory.
We carried on up the coast to Anchorage and any doubts I had over my decision to stay and see Abel Tasman National Park were soon forgotten. The National Park is amazing with calm seas lapping the golden sands of secluded beaches nestled in picturesque bays.
We got dropped off on one of these beaches from where we had to make our own way back to Marahau, a hike that should take about 4 hours.
After taking several minutes taking in the amazing beauty of the area and of course a few photos we consulted the map and see that it was low tide I suggested we take the short cut across the neighbouring Torrent Bay up to Cleopatra’s Pool. The path wasn’t that clearly marked and halfway up the stream it appeared to end. At this point a Swiss couple that were following us decided they didn’t want to risk it and backtracked to find the main path. We carried on and just further ahead I was vindicated as we found the trail again saving us about 45 minutes.
I wasn’t that impressed by Cleopatra’s Pool although had it been summer perhaps it would have been a great place to have a refreshing swim. In winter however the water is very cold but we did cross some lovely streams along the way.
The trail then wound up and over the hill at the top of which you got some incredible views back across to Nelson.
We then made our way down back to the coast and the stunning Akersten Bay which we had to ourselves and stopped to have a picnic lunch.
Back on the trail we still had quite a way to go to Marahau. As well as the stunning beaches the Abel Tasman National Park also has great hiking trails that take you through lush rain forest with amazing tree ferns, some in excess of five metres tall. Finally we reached Marahau where there is a wooden bridge across the estuary. Just to the right at the end of the trail was the hostel where we had booked to stay the night so we didn’t have to rush back into Nelson and could explore some more of the park the following day.
It was a fantastic first day in the Abel Tasman National Park and the weather forecast for the following day was the same again but for now it was time to rest our legs in front of the fire at The Barn.