Eyes Above The Waves

Robert O'Callahan. Christian. Repatriate Kiwi. Hacker.

Sunday 3 December 2023

Abel Tasman Kayaking

In October my Pernosco co-founder Kyle visited me in NZ for a catch-up and a holiday. Kyle had never been to the South Island in previous visits so we did a two-week road trip, Christchurch to Kaikoura to Nelson to Westport to Haast to Arrowtown to Twizel to Christchurch. It was huge fun and we fixed some gnarly rr bugs along the way, with the help of Intel’s Processor Trace.

Between Nelson and Westport we visited Abel Tasman National Park and kayaked part of the Abel Tasman Great Walk. I walked the whole thing in 2015; it was a nice change to kayak. We rented kayaks from Abel Tasman Kayaks; we were happy with their service. We had excellent weather the entire time.

We did the trip in three days. On the first day we kayaked from Marahau around to Anchorage Hut. It was a lovely day and we settled into the kayaking pretty quickly. We kayaked along the inside coast of Adele Island, which was lovely, although with the tide in there’s really no beach at all. Going around Pitt Head, the wind and waves increased and I was a bit nervous, but we had no real trouble — on the last run into the beach we were surfing with the waves and wind behind us. I was glad to make the beach without flipping the kayak!

Like last time, The Anchorage was really busy with day-trippers until about 4:30pm when everyone cleared out by water-taxi and left just the trampers and a few of us kayakers to ourselves. It’s a really beautiful spot. Kyle and I did an afternoon walk north to Torrent Bay, where there’s a little off-the-grid settlement. Oddly, they seem to have water supply but not grid electricity, which is the opposite of most of the remote settlements I know. I went for a swim — it was pretty cold, but felt great!

On the second day we kayaked north to an early lunch at Bark Bay Hut. From there we headed further north to Tonga Island, which we circumnavigated to see the seals — lots of fun. Having made the most of our kayaking we pulled into Onetahuti beach, where we left the kayak to be picked up and walked north along the track to Awaroa Hut (the last hut for most Abel Tasman track walkers). Awaroa was beautiful. That night we had dinner at Awaroa Lodge nearby — fairly expensive, but well worth it!

On the last day we kept following the track north — crossing Awaroa Inlet at dead low tide at 8am, then proceeding to Totaranui where we were to be picked up by water-taxi. We got there pretty quickly so we killed some more time by doing the Headlands Track at the north end of the beach. The pickup was delayed a bit (Abel Tasman Kayaks sent us an email letting us know ahead of time, but though Awaroa has cell service I’m not used to checking my email on tramping trips). Anyway we had a fun fast water-taxi trip back to Marahau and we were overall very happy. Would definitely do it again!