It Starts… Again…

Well folks, it’s been a few months… I mean awkward.. Which to be fair was kinda expected on my part. The fact that I have gone back to writing at all, actually quite shocks me… However, here I am. Ready to tell you about the wonders that is the South Island. So forgive my earlier lack of dedication. As an update, I worked in Wellington, i.e. New Zealand’s capital for three months at a lovely restaurant called The Crab Shack. Which was heaps of fun, but after my short tenure, I felt drawn back to van life on the road.

Now, this first post is going to be about the 4 day Abel Tasman Great Walk. More specifically, my experience, my issues, as well as any recommendations. Aka, not my typical top 5 things to do post. Instead, its going to be a day 1, 2, etc., from my point of view. Get fricken excited!

Day 1:

Abel Tasman Great Walk

Kicking off the Abel Tasman Great Walk

“Our bags are packed… We’re ready to go…” Aud and I…. two bright eyed, bushy tailed, trampers, ready to take on the world.. Or at least the Abel Tasman National Park. Well, we did! In the sense that we took on a 4 day hike, somewhat prepared, somewhat not. Day 1 consisted of 4 hours of hiking with potentially 25 lbs of bag weight on our backs. Which is a complete guess, but I feel like I rounded down as my bag felt more like a million pounds… To Anchorage Bay we walked, on a relatively flat path (thank Jesus..).

Anchorage Bay Campsite:

We arrived! With legit, bruised shoulders and hips. I mean who would have thought a backpacker bag could actually bruise you while you are carrying it… Audrey and I set up the tent for our first night of camping and then tanned on the beach. This campsite was rather large and had both campfire pits as well as a charging station.. Unexpected but welcome!

Abel Tasman Great Walk: Camping

Tent Life

We were also delighted to see that there was treated water available. Due to our constant desire to be cheap as hell, we had decided against buying a camping stove. Therefore, if there wasn’t treated water, we legit would have been making friends with people in order to use their stove to boil water for safe consumption. That would have gotten awkward reallll fast.

I would say this was the busiest of the campsites that we stayed at. It was crazy like there was this group that no joke brought a full course meal and tablecloths. Basically the definition of glamping. I wasn’t jealous at all…

Moving on….

Day 2:

Day 2 started at 6am after a rough night sleep. This one didn’t bring enough blankets, therefore, I was sleeping in three shirts, a jacket, leggings. Let me tell you, this was not enough! Also, the ground is hard.. And yes, I realize I sound like an inexperienced idiot… Well I was.Abel Tasman Great Walk Abel Tasman Great WalkAnywho, we get up at 6am as there is a tide crossing. Aka., a place that can only be crossed within two hours of low tide. During the time we were there, low time was Around 6:30am and 6:30pm. After the crossing, we had a short and relatively flat day of hiking, ending at Bark Bay Campsite.


Bark Bay Campsite:

Bark Bay Campsite

Bark Bay Sunset

Bark Bay would have easily been the prettiest campsite we would have stayed at, but unfortunately, due to the cyclone that passed through the area the week before, it was destroyed. Nonetheless, we were able to camp by one of the DOC huts. As we arrived early, Aud and I spent the day lounging on the beach, which was delightful. Also, a big shoutout to both the sunrise and sunset at Bark Bay. They were just spot on.

Day 3:

Again, Aud and I began our day early as we had another crossing to do as well as to watch the marvelous sunrise. Day 3 was our longest day of hiking with 7 hours. We got our early start, crossed our low tide area, and made it to Awaroa, which was our lunch break point. Basically, all was going as planned.

Until it wasn’t..

It was actually kinda funny, because Audrey said to me that day “you know, everything has gone pretty smooth, no fuck ups”. Well turns out, we had another tide crossing, one that couldn’t be avoided. There we were at noon, having to wait until 6:30ish until the tide was low enough to cross a giant estuary. What else was there to do but wait.Abel Tasman Great Walk Abel Tasman Great Walk

FINALLY, our time had come. We had watched some others cross somewhat successfully, and were basically too impatient to wait further. Therefore, cross we did, and even managed to keep our packs dry, though our selves and clothes was a different story. The last two hours of hiking to Totaranui Campsite were relatively uneventful.

Totaranui Campsite:

This campsite was a bit of a surprise as it was a normal campsite that one can drive to, which means there weren’t just Great Walk hikers camping there. Also, it was massive. Though I will say, compared to the prior campsites we stayed at, this one was the least pretty. However, there was one bonus, we were finally about to throw our trash away, which we had been carrying around for days. So a big yay there!

Day 4:

The last day had come! Let me tell you, we were kinda over it at this point. Like it was a lovely hike, but we were ready to sleep in a car again. Fancy that, who would have thought that I’d miss sleeping in a van.. This last day was relatively uneventful, with exception of finishing the walk.

When we reached the end, we had finish 60kms of hiking over the course of four days. That was a great feeling!

Abel Tasman Great Walk

Finishing the 60km Great Walk got me like…


  • Keep in mind the tide crossings when planning which campsites you are going to stay at. To book campsites visit the DOC Webite.
  • Review the DOC websites for any updates to the hike. We saw ahead of time that the Bark Bay campground was closed.
  • Bring camping food that travels well and won’t go bad.. That may or may not have happened to us..
  • If you are considering which Great Walk to do, I would suggest another one than the Abel Tasman. It was lovely, and I am glad I did a Great Walk. However, it was a lot of the same scenery for 4 days. In hindsight, Aud and I would probably have just done a day hike in Abel Tasman.
  • Travel as light as possible!

Well that’s all for now folks, stay tuned to next post!

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Juan Valades · February 14, 2018 at 11:48 am

Just like life is. Some times it’s the same scenery but then as you stay faithful you come to the gold of life. You know those aha moments that you would have not seen had you quit. Life is a journey. Love you Vee I am proud of you. Dad

On Sat, Feb 10, 2018 at 8:23 PM The Mad Hattress wrote:

> themadhattressblog posted: “It Starts… Again… Well folks, it’s been a > few months… I mean awkward.. Which to be fair was kinda expected on my > part. The fact that I have gone back to writing at all, actually quite > shocks me… However, here I am. Ready to tell you about the wond” >

Olivia · February 28, 2018 at 3:13 am

So glad to read another update! And of course I call you talking about business right after. I should have know all you wanted was a glass of vino and a foot massage! Miss you! xoxo

How to do the South Island in 1 month.. – The Mad Hattress · March 18, 2018 at 2:24 am

[…] the New Zealand experience. Read more about my tramp through the Abel Tasman National Park in my South Island Abel Tasman […]

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