With the growing trend in walking holidays, New Zealand's Great Walks, a series of hikes offering various degrees of difficulty, show off the country's many picturesque scenes and natural wonders. Excursions like this are a great choice for active visitors who prefer to see the best of a country on foot - and the Land of the Long White Cloud is most definitely best seen under your own steam.
Of these walks, the Abel Tasman National Park Walk is perhaps the most popular for both locals and tourists on walking holidays. New Zealand's 51 kilometre coastal track is considered a great start for people just discovering the joys of hiking, especially with its mild climate, easy and well-formed terrain and wonderful attractions - including secluded beaches and safe waters. In fact, the trail is so easy to negotiate that it can be walked by even those of moderate fitness.
Time and Tide (And Tour Leaders)
While you could tackle this hike independently, taking the walk with experienced tour leaders is highly recommended. Many tours combine walking and sea kayaking, which offers a more well-rounded experience. As well, travelling with a group allows better choices when it comes to camping, lodge stays and on board boat stay options. The coastal track includes many tidal crossings that can only be negotiated during low tide- experienced tour leaders will certainly have more tidal information at their fingertips to better be able to help plan the trek.
One, Three Or Five?
There are many options for hiking the 51-kilometre coastal track depending on length of your walking holidays. New Zealand's locals, and tourists with limited time, often take single-day trips, accessing many of the different attractions by boat from the beaches along the track. The Bark Bay to Torrent Bay route, which boasts beautiful views and challenging pathways as well as a swing bridge crossing Falls River, is one of the most popular trails.
However, for many visitors talking this Great Walk on their walking holidays, New Zealand's many charms are better appreciated and savoured at their leisure on the three-day and five-day walks. Not only are there more attractions to be seen on these longer walks, the slower pace allows plenty of time for swimming in the spectacular blue waters, as well as fishing and kayaking.
A sense of wonder, surprise and serenity are often the memories visitors take away with them (particularly first-timers) when experiencing the Abel Tasman leg of their walking holidays. New Zealand's varied landscapes are simply breathtaking- golden sand beaches and warm swimming spots on the same trail as glacier peaks and ski slopes. This is walking, New Zealand style.