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Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Abel Tasman National Park

Since getting to the South Island, I have asked everybody what their favourite parts were, and Abel Tasman National Park was one of the places that kept popping up. Loads of people do a 2- or 3-day walk here. Not being equipped for a long hike (I'm travelling with a suitcase, so I'm basically not equipped for anything), I opted to do the one-day option.

The day-trip begins with a water taxi to wherever you choose to start your walk along the track. Along the way the skipper showed us areas of interest, like the split rock above. Apparently it's mandatory to see it if you're near Abel Tasman. We also saw seals, which was pretty cool. Though a few days later I stayed at a hostel near the beach in Punakaiki, and a seal came up all the way to the hostel's lawn, which was cooler. But anyway, seals.

Abel Tasman is located on the north coast of the South Island, and the area is full of beautiful beaches.

This is the beach where I got off the boat to start my hike. And yes, you do have to wade to get to land, so be prepared to get your feet wet. I spent the first couple of kilometres being a bit disappointed. Not because it wasn't pretty, but because people had kept going on about how incredibly beautiful Abel Tasman was, and the woodland area I was walking through was just a bit too familiar. I don't know how well disappointment with familiarity bodes for the rest of my trip, as people keep telling me the South Island is extremely similar to Norway... And although I usually like doing things alone, I think I would've enjoyed this hike more if I had done it with someone else. I had the opposite feeling when I got to the West Coast, but more on that another time.



The disappointment didn't last long, though, as I soon got to some amazing coastal stretches. I think the beauty of Abel Tasman is in the variety. You have beautiful bays, and great woodland areas. You can walk in a mysterious forest one minute, and the next come to a tropical paradise beach.






When I got to this beach (Torrent Bay) I had it all to myself, which I was quite surprised by, as there were quite a few other people hiking at the same time as me. I'll never complain about having a beautiful beach all to myself, though!

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