If you like walking and hiking, New Zealand is paradise.
Most cities, towns and villages have walking tracks clearly marked. Some will take you along the coast, lake or river. Some will be inside a park. Some will require an extra effort to go up a hill and get excellent views of the area.
In addition to these short walks, there are plenty of day and several-day tracks in the countryside, a lot of them in National Parks. The most popular ones are known as the ‘Great Walks‘ and involve tracks of different levels (easy, medium, hard) and lengths (2 to 6 days), all in surrounding landscapes of incredible beauty. As I said before, a hiking paradise.
Due to my physical condition I am limited to day walks, but I could not leave New Zealand without doing at least a part of a Great Walk. I love walking, and I love nature! So I had to try, and I decided to do two of them.
My first long walk would be in Abel Tasman National Park.
The Abel Tasman National Park is located at the north of the south island, and the Abel Tasman Coast Track is one of the most popular Great Walks. It goes along the coast, crossing dense deep green forests and passing by beautiful sand beaches with clear water. Additionally, it is located in one of the sunniest regions in New Zealand. Could you imagine a more pleasant walk?
I did the last (or first) part of the track. I booked the transport from Nelson: a bus to Marahau, an aqua taxi to Anchorage Beach, and a bus back from Marahau to Nelson. The track would consist on 12.4km along the coast, from Anchorage Beach to the village (Marahau).
As I write this, I look at the date of my pictures: I was in Abel Tasman three and a half months ago.
As time passes by my memories from the places I visited fade away. I forget the smells, the sounds, the feeling that produced me to be there. The details disappear while the highlights get more clear. Like an sculpture, by memory removes everything which is not important and only the most significant is left.
I feel sorry that I did not write more when I was there, that I did not capture all these details that are now gone for good. On the other hand, I find it interesting to look back, from a distance: the details give way to a more global picture, the strong emotions to a more settled understanding.
I look back and I get random images. Oh, that place was stunning. Ah, that was the place where several people offered to drive me back to the village. And that was the day where I hiked a steep hill after a heavy lunch, and when I saw the views I forgot about all the effort.
I look back and I realize that I remember some places for its beauty, others for its people, others for the experiences I had there.
Abel Tasman belongs to the first group: the beauty.
I look back and I see myself walking inside a forest. Under the shadows of the trees, it is a bit cool so I have to put on a long sleeve t-shirt. The track goes up from the beach. On the top, the vegetation is less dense, there are less trees and more bushes.
Every time the vegetation is low enough to see the views, my breath stops.
The beaches are very beautiful.
The color of the water is stunning.
It is possible to do the whole walk in about 4 hours, but it takes me 6. I stop to take photos. I go down to every single beach (and go up again). I look at the ocean and wish it was warmer so I could go inside and swim. I sit down and enjoy the silence. I relax. Definitely, it is a pleasant walk in paradise.
GOOD TO KNOW
- Return bus from Nelson to Marahau + one way aqua taxi to Anchorage Beach: NZD$58
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