Flanders in NZ 12 – The 1st Great Walk

Yikes! Late post, but this week has been a bit busy at work…on to some story-time and beach photos!

Last time I was here I had the extreme pleasure of walking the Milford Track Great Walk. In total, New Zealand has 9 “Great Walks” and the Flanders did their first one together this past weekend–Abel Tasman Coast Track! Not wanting to take any vacation days we planned to do only 2 days, 1 night on the track, and 33.9 km of walking (21 miles). Only one other colleague was brave enough to join us 😉 (and the fact that most had already walked it a few months ago).

First off…Abel Tasman?! Nearly EVERYTHING is named after him around here…he has a peninsula, bridge, highway, an entire sea, glacier, lake, river, mountain, bay, district, and the national park which bears his track. I eventually HAD to look this guy up, he is obviously a big deal — dutch explorer to be the first (european) explorer to many areas throughout Australasia. Golden Bay (the bay off of Abel Tasman national park) was originally called Murderer’s Bay because the Maori people killed so many of his men… drama!

Anyways, the track. Most of this I can do photos, but I’ll give you a bit of the outline.

00_track profile

Our Weekend Hiking Plan – boat to Awaroa and walk back to the car

Friday we left somewhat early (3:30) to drive 5.5 hours and arrive at a hostel in Matoeka for the night.

Early Saturday, we got up and drove to the start of the track. As we were driving towards the park the rain got heavier and heavier…and the wind picked up. By the time we got the shore Keith was asking if we thought the boat was even going to take us to our destination. In typical Kiwi fashion, the welcome center cashier told us “Of course!” and pointed us to our waiting area.


Waiting hut/Enjoying the rain/Packs all lined up with Keith’s umbrella making an appearance

The boat ride was…”exciting” to describe it. I’ve managed to be on quite a few boats in my 27 years, and this was the bumpiest. We were basically out in the ocean, with 10 foot waves, in a 20 foot water taxi. The captain seemed to know what he was doing, and made a few jokes about taking care of his own life…which attempted to put me at ease (while steadfastly tightening my life vest). To say the least, I’d never been so happy to climb ashore, even if it was rainy and windy throughout the hike.


Yes we got on the boat while it was hitched to the tractor/yes we had to jump out of the boat while it was slightly beached on shore…

The rain died down and our “4 hour” kiwi timed hike of 11.4km turned into 2.5 hours to get to Bark Bay Hut. Eventually another hiker arrived who was also, coincidentally, our one hostel bunk mate the night before! She was also an American (from Kansas) who was traveling post graduation and pre-going to work as an engineer in California (small world right!?)


Start of a drizzly, albeit beautiful day!



On the boardwalk



Onetahuti Selfie


Bark Bay Hut


Keith went for a run on the beach…


Admiring the view in front of our hut for the night…


Rock scramble

Sunday was the day we were gearing ourselves up for. Luckily the rain went away and the clouds started to part. We ended up walking a total of 15 miles to get back to the car. Normally, the official walking guide has another hut in the middle but we wanted to try to get in as much track as possible in a weekend. We miraculously got back to the car by 2:30pm and were back in Christchurch by dinner time!


Team Tasman @ Sunrise (again, chilling out in our hut’s beautiful front yard)


We couldn’t quite get the jumping thing down…


Start of a much more beautiful day…


Too many ocean/land photo ops


Made it to Torrent Bay Village (where several private houses reside — quite the nice vacation getaway!)


On a limb


Flanders Hiking Photo of the Week


Usually the sign photo is captured at the beginning of the hike, but considering we started in the middle and hiked back to the “beginning” we had to make an exception.


Drive home through Lewis Pass

Overall a lovely weekend, followed by a busy week. This makes me realize next week may be a struggle to get an entertaining/trip-infused post out. I’ll have to start brainstorming now!




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