Abel Tasman Park Hike - Bark Bay to Torrent Bay

By: leelefever on January 24, 2006 - 1:11pm


We had been hearing about the hiking or “tramping” in the Able Tasman National Park for a while.  Today, in a sprinkle of rain we had about a 3 hour hike in the park.

It’s a very popular and small park in NZ standards, about 22,000 hectares (about 50,000 acres) and has inland and coastal tracks.  Today we did the coastal track from Bark Bay to Torrents Bay.  To start at Bark Bay required a water taxi because it is about halfway up the coastal track to the north of the southern entrance to the park.  This is  a water taxi...

We haven’t seen rain on the trip so far really- why would it come today?  With this thinking in mind, we departed Squeak without a rain jacket between us, dressed for a warm summer day.  Of course, on the way up the coast in the very back of the cold water taxi, rain greeted us for one of the first times.  It continued to greet us as we realized we’d made a bad choice on which route to take to Bark Bay.  We choose a route called “Discoverer Day” that provided a tour of the coastline much farther North than Bark Bay, adding about 1.5 hours to what was a pretty miserable experience in the back of the taxi.  We should have gone directly to Bark Bay and started hiking.  Had we been more prepared, or had the sun shone, we might be telling a different story.

Luckily, the rain was only a sprinkle when we reached the Bark Bay Trailhead and our luck began to change.  The trail made minor descents and ascents and afforded beautiful views of the coastline. The park has an other-worldly quality due to the plant species we’re not used to seeing. I wish I knew the names other than the national emblem- the Silver Fern.

We had read that the park had become too popular and the “crowds” had taken away from the serene appeal of the park.  We’re finding that the Kiwi view of crowded and that of the rest of the world can be vastly different.  We did not find an overrun park, but one with desolate accessible beaches and the occasional passer-by.

In all, we were impressed, but it wasn’t amazing.  In a lot of ways, it was just a nice hike along a coastline. Would we do it again in hindsight? Likely.  Would we recommend it?  Yes, but not with great enthusiasm.


Who is Abel Tasman?

He has a park (and town) in New Zealand named after him and a sea in between NZ and Australia.  He named the country of New Zealand. He has a big Australian Island (Tasmania) named for him.  Why don’t we see a lot of references to him in New Zealand history (we wondered)?

While he was the first European (Dutch) to discover New Zealand and did map a lot of it’s coast in 1642, his encounter was brief and violent. Unlike Capt. Cook who befriended and traded with the Maori, Tasman fought with them and only visited the mainland once.  So, his place in New Zealand history is about initial discovery and little else (from what we understand).  Wikipedia has more.

Post From: Richmond, NZ
Dang! No other posts from this city.
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By: Sue (not verified) on January 24, 2006 - 6:04pm
The pictures are just gorgeous.  The first one almost looks like a painting.  Oh I wish I was there to see it all!  Enjoying your blog - love "Squeak" looks like a pretty decent home away from home.