Where We Be
Abel Tasman Tramp, New Zealand
The Abel Tasman is the most popular Great Walk in New
Zealand. It's less steep than the others and it features
some of New Zealand’s most spectacular beaches. All
told, we hiked 64 km (39 mi). The elevation gains on any
one hill weren’t that dramatic, but we did a lot of up and
down climbing—up one tree-covered headland and down
the other side to a beach, then a long walk through the
sand and surf until the next headland.

One of our favorite things about this hike was getting to
walk barefoot through the pounding surf whenever we
reached one of the beaches. These are some of the most
beautiful and deserted beaches we've ever had the
pleasure to walk along -- although if you stop for too long,
the sandflies eat you alive.

Abel Tasman is the one Great Walk lacking gas burners in
the huts -- something we didn't know until too late! The
hut warden kindly gave us two half-empty fuel canisters
left behind by other trampers. This enabled us to borrow
other peoples’ stoves without having to use up their fuel
supplies. As we were screwing one of the canisters onto
a borrowed stove, I heard the hiss of gas. “I think that’s
coming from the base,” I told Robin. A new friend, Dan
from Australia, happened by at that moment and sniffed
for gas at the top of the stove. “Well, there’s one way to
find out,” he said. He took his lighter out and lit the stove
before we could stop him. Poof! The whole stove and
canister went up in flames. We blew madly at the flames,
which fortunately went out. I quickly screwed the stove
down more tightly to the canister, trying to ignore the
sudden hush that had fallen in the room. Every time I saw
Dan from then on, I told him “Keep away from my stove!”

On our third day we took a break from crappy backpacker
food, stopping at the swanky Awaroa Lodge for lunch. We
feasted on fillet of lamb, grilled snapper, and a double
chocolate caramel brownie for dessert. Quite the treat!
Outstanding views like this are common along the Abel Tasman
Having fun hiking the most popular Great Walk in New Zealand
Taking the plunge into the Tasman Sea
The scenery changes dramatically at low and high tides
I love this lone palm tree and the trail beckoning us to the beach
I love the two-toned sand on this long crescent beach
Sandflies, the bane of New Zealand
Silhouette of islands in Marlborough Sound
Dramatic fluted cliffs and pounding surf make for magic beach walks
Climb another headland...get another fantastic view
A gourmet lunch in the middle of a long tramp is a thing of beauty
Whaddaya say? Let's make a really big bonfire tonight!
This knee-deep water crossing
was only possible at low tide
Lovely stretch of beach near Awaroa Bay
Robin in bare feet on warm powdery sand
Our last hut, a quaint converted farmhouse
A creative soul built this rock kiwi on the mudflats
A "mud wiggle" takes us the last stretch home after our boat ride back
Happy after our five-day nature walk