Trip Report: Abel Tasman Inland Track

8 September 2020 |

Over an unusually warm late-winter weekend I decided to do Abel Tasman Inland Track—the lesser known cousin of the famous coastal track. This was a ‘training mission’ as part of my upcoming Te Araroa plans to check how my physical fitness was going and see how some of my recent gear acquisitions performed.

Sub-alpine clearing of tussock surrounded by forest View from near Moa Park Shelter

Starting from Tōtaranui—teeming with bird life courtesy of massive local conservation efforts—I walked to Whariwharangi Hut in the late afternoon sun, nicely sheltered from the northerly wind for most of the journey. Whariwharangi Hut is neat in that it was an old homestead, and hence is probably one of very few two-storey DOC huts in the country.

The second day was a long 29.5km day with 1530m of elevation gain all the way to Castle Rock Hut near the southern border of the hut. The trail was surprisingly diverse, starting in coastal rainforest, ascending to small areas of farmland, old growth forest, regenerating gorse-covered areas, and later on some small ‘alpine-style’ clearings. The area around Awapoto Hut—my lunch spot—had some serious windfall, with older photos of the hut show a hut surrounded by tall trees, contrasting significantly with the hut’s present surrounds.

A few photos from the journey

The final day dawned beautifully sunny and warm, with outside being weirdly warmer than the hut when I emerged. Slightly slower setting off than intended—courtesy of a disrupted sleep from what I presume was a possum on the roof—the trail undulates over some mixed forest cover before popping out at Holyoakes Shelter, a nicely positioned shelter with views out over the coastline. From here the trail turned from a jumble of tree roots and mud to hard limestone, much more consistent with the style of trail found on the coastal track below. After rapid descent, with occasional stops to appreciate the views, I was soon back in Mārahau accompanied by Mum, who had walked partway up the track to meet me.

The route: ~46.4km total with 2068m of ascent