By Tara Isaacs

As time goes on, my bucket list of tramps seems to be getting longer rather than shorter. There is just so much to explore. The Abel Tasman Coastal Walk is one of many adventures on my extensive list; and as the final part of Gold Duke of Edinburgh Hillary Award, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to tackle it. However, I had neither a team, nor a shadower . . . as well as no way of getting there. But I planned the trip anyway.

Fortunately, the beauty of the Abel Tasman made it an easy seller and pretty soon I had a team and a shadower who were all just as excited as I was. Everything was falling into place. Costs were evaluated and tickets were booked.

We were ready, until we faced another challenge. One of my teammates came to school on crutches after injuring herself playing football. Another setback. Uncertainty was in the air, but that didn’t stop us. After the all-clear from the physio, lots of strapping tape and hiking poles, we set off on our big adventure.

The Abel Tasman is a long way from home for us Bay of Plenty girls. After a long day traveling, a good night’s sleep and more driving, we finally arrived at the track start.

Thunder rumbled in the distance and the wind blew strong. A beautiful day for a walk?! Raincoats on, we set off in high spirits, looking past the rainclouds to the sunshine that Metservice promised us for the coming days. We had lunch sitting on some rocks in a little bay, enjoying the spot of sunshine.

Anchorage Beach

However in true spring fashion, it was raining again within a few minutes. The water was so clear and so blue that once we arrived at our campsite for the night, we were quick to jump in the water, even though it was like ice water.

Bark Bay Campsite

After our swim, our evening consisted of fighting off the weka and searching for glowworms in the caves, which then finished with climbing into our tents for our first night in the bush. 

Bark Bay

Day Two was much of the same, except with the added challenge of blisters and a swollen foot for our injured team member. Another challenge we faced was the tidal crossings, as we pushed to make it for low tide. 

Awaroa Inlet Crossing

The scenery was amazing, and the best part of the day was seeing four kākā birds.

Onetahuti Bay

The tidal crossings meant that we had wet feet. This did not bode well with the blisters that some of our team had, so our pace significantly dropped for the middle couple of days. 

Huffam Stream

But we looked after each other and made it to the end of the track. The weather played its part and we had warm sunshine for the remainder of our trip. 

Awaroa Inlet

We had heaps of fun – swam in the freezing ocean, watched the sunrises over the bays and got to see some amazing views. It will definitely be a trip to remember.

We’re delighted to share another trip report from recent recipients of FMC’s Youth Award Grant. These grants are awarded four times a year, so if you’re inspired to get some financial support, head over to FMC’s website to apply.