Bee stings, blisters, sore shoulders and no phone, trekking through the deep bush with the only sound for miles being the birds tweeting, the bugs buzzing and the streams trickling, Nature at its finest.
Heavy backpacks filled with food, cooking equipment and a few clothes we set off on the 4 day coastal trek from Marahau to Totaranui – The Abel Tasman Great Walk.
Each day consisted of 4 to 5 hours of walking between camp huts. We opted to stay in huts rather than tents to save ourselves from the extra weight on our shoulders. There are only 4 huts along the route so you need to book them early to secure a spot for your sleeping bag. The huts are just that, huts; with a space for your sleeping bag and a bench for your camp cooker, but they were perfect. A place to rest your tired body, cook your dri-freezed food and wake up in the morning overlooking the sea.
The walk was quite challenging at times, with our backpacks weighing us down and the sun beating down whilst climbing steep hills, but the struggle was forgotten within seconds when we reached the top of each hill, and standing above the trees we would look down onto golden coves and glistening sea. The descents were not that much easier but the rewards at the bottom were just as special, with lunch on the beach, time for a sunbathe and a swim in the clear sea which looked so inviting from the top.
With the sun beating down on us on our first day we walked through open country until we reached the start of the beech forest. We trekked on until we came across a beach for a quick swim and some lunch and then onto Anchorage Bay where our first hut was. Our second day surprised us with an amazing 47 metre suspension bridge which crossed over Falls River, more lush green forest and into Bark Bay for our second night in a camp hut.
Bark Bay to Awaroa was our longest walking day but we broke it up by spending the afternoon on the beautiful Onetahuti beach. It was also the hardest climbing day but the views at the top were amazing with the tide in the inlet creating different shades of blue swirls. It reminded me of Whitehaven Beach in Australia.
Our last day was quite an experience. To leave Awaroa we had to cross an inlet within 1 hour before low tide. The water never fully subsides as the sea meets a river. Being the short 4ft 9” that I am, we had to ensure we crossed at a good time that I could get across without the bottom of my backpack hitting the water. Luckily we judged it just right and made it across the water with a dry backpack and plenty of time to reach the finishing point of our trek, Totaranui.
Making our way back to “civilisation” on our pre-booked water taxi and looking out onto the bay of hills, was when I realised how far we had actually walked and how high we had actually climbed. What a great achievement and an amazing experience.