Sometimes we read about a place and misunderstand what we will experience. So it was with Abel Tasman Coast Track. We thought we’d be hiking a rugged trail on cliffs overlooking the Tasman Sea. We thought we’d take boat transport to get to each day’s hike and again at day’s end to cover most of the 51 km trail.
The reality was oh-so-different. The “rugged” trail turned out to be well cared for – “groomed” actually. The smooth trail meant no scrambling over fallen trees, no rocky terrain, and no rough going. The trail had periodic glimpses over the beautiful sea but then detoured off into the forest for long stretches. On each of those points, we didn’t complain, but the hiking was not what we had expected. We’d hoped to do multi-days of hiking, but the boat transport averaged $80 NZ ($64 US) per person to be dropped off in the morning and picked up at the end of the day. Four days of hiking for two of us, using boat transport, would have run well over our budget. The reality didn’t fit our preconception. Alteration of plans was necessary. Multi-day hikes on Abel Tasman was no longer a “fit”.
We reassessed the four days. We love hiking but decided to go with the area’s unforeseen hidden strength. For warm sunny days, the beaches presented themselves as beautifully compelling.
So, we hiked to beaches on the Abel Tasman trail for two of the days, whiling away our time — lounging, eating, and reading books. We gave our legs a rest, and we gave our budget a break.
One day a boat dropped us off at Anchorange so that we could hike back to Marahau.
We caught periodic glimpses of the sea but spent most our time in the woods entertained by fantails and silvereyes flitting across our path.
Abel Tasman surprised us, but, once we discovered there’s more to the Park than hiking, we shifted gears and enjoyed our affordable 4-day visit.