The Abel Tasman, the smallest national park in New Zealand does pack quite a punch for adventurers. After several days of resting, it was time for me to go on another adventure. The Abel Tasman great walk is around circuit track that requires 3 - 4 days to complete and since I was under the time constraint of 5 weeks, I decided to do part of it via the Aqua Taxi service.
The other reason why I chose to do part of the track was that I came from Thailand, a tropical country full of beautiful beaches, and I thought I would not be impressed as much with the beaches here in New Zealand. Oh how I was wrong.
Looking for a complete itinerary for New Zealand? A Month In New Zealand On A Budget.
New Zealand Travel Video
Where to Stay in Motueka
Motueka: Hotel YHA Motueka / Laughing Kiwi Backpackers: 28.00 NZD/night
Getting to the Abel Tasman National Park via AquaTaxi
I woke up early in the morning, packed all my gears (food and 3 litres of water) and got picked up by the AquaTaxi for the Abel Tasman, a service I bought the previous day.
I bought the AquaTaxi’s Seals and Sand service for 75 NZD which included a pickup from the hostel to Marahau, an AquaTaxi to Torrent Bay, and then walk on foot along the coast for 4 - 5 hours to Onetahuti Beach. The AquaTaxi would then pick me up at Onetahuti Beach at around 4PM and drop me off at the hostel. Bascially, everything except the walk were handled by the AquaTaxi.
The good thing about using the AquaTaxi was that they know where things were and they took us to see everything from beautiful rock formations to dolphins, birds and seals. This was the first time I saw dolphines truly in the wild!
Hiking the Torrent Bay to Onetahuti Beach Trail
After an hour floating around off-shore, we finally landed at the Torrent Bay. We had to take our shoes off and walked in the extremely cold water to get to the shore. The water was so cold that I could feel the pain radiating from my foot for every step I took in the water. It was so painful!
The walk was nothing compared to the Tongariro crossing. Although, they said it was a 3 - 4 hours walk, I did it all in 2, and I wasn’t even rushing. The track consisted of a few small hills and flat terrain most of time. People with no hiking experience could easily accomplish this walk.
With that said, an easy walk like this did allow me to actually enjoy the place more.
And the view was as rewarding as all the other walks in New Zealand. Just breathtaking!
I stopped at this spot for lunch while enjoying the sight of a ridiculously turquoise ocean and a small little island.
There were several suspension bridges along the track which added a little bit more thrill to the walk.
The color was ridiculous! I have never seen anything like it before. The deep turquoise colored ocean was quite a common sight in the Abel Tasman.
If you are going to do the whole walk, you need to study the level of tides at each time of the day since there will be intersections where you will have to decide which way to take according to the tide’s level. Check out their website for updated info.
This is nothing like the ocean I’ve seen back in Thailand. We have a paled, light blue colored ocean that doesn’t scream in colors like they did in New Zealand.
As with all the walks in New Zealand, the track had been very well maintained which is always nice especially for walks that we have to put ourselves fully exposed to nature like this.
After 2 hours of walking very slowly, I arrived at the Onetahuti beach 2 hours earlier than the scheduled pick up time.
Since I was a little early, I took the opportunity to walk along this quiet beach, while eating my sandwich like an animal. After all, no one was there to judge me. :)
So this is what an uncommercialized beach looks like. Coming from Thailand, where every beaches are squeezed dry for money, the idea of walking on an unspoiled beach like this was foreign to me.
I simply sat there quietly, looking at nothing but nature, listening to the sound of birds and animals. It was truly an out-of-body experience!
Even though, I thought I wouldn’t enjoy the beaches and tropical forest as much, New Zealand has once again proven me wrong.
Getting Back to Motueka
The water taxi picked me and a few other people up at 4 PM and drove us back to Marahau.
In between that, they stopped a few times and let us enjoyed the wildlife of New Zealand.
The AquaTaxi dropped me at the hostel and I crashed right on the spot. It was a fun and tiring day. After experiencing the Abel Tasman, I realized how much effort New Zealand had put into preserving and maintaining the nature they have. I now have a whole new level of respect for them.
Now, that I was warmed up from this episode, next up we will cycle the west coast to Cape Foulwind and climb a glacier in Franz Josef. Stay tuned for more adventure from New Zealand.
Further Reading for Backpacking in New Zealand
I’ve spent 5 weeks backpacking in New Zealand and I have written a ton more about my journey traveling throughout New Zealand from the North Island to the South Island that you might help in your trip planning.
Here’s a selection of articles about New Zealand:
- Looking for a complete travel guide to spend one month in New Zealand on a budget? A Month In New Zealand On A Budget - The Perfect Backpacking Itinerary.
- New Zealand has a special place in my heart. It is one of the most memorable trip I have ever done and here are 10 things I love about New Zealand.
- If you are planning to start traveling in New Zealand from North to South, Rotorua is a great place to visit on your way South from Auckland. Here is a travel guide on things to do in Rotorua.
- Did you know that you can climb Mount Doom from Lord of the Rings in real life? Along the Tongariro Crossing trail, you have the option to summit Mount Ngauruhoe which was used as a reference for Mount Doom in the movie. Here a travel guide on how to hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing in one day.
- Crossing from the North Island of New Zealand to the South is an experience in and of itself. See how to cross from the North Island to the South Island in New Zealand here.
- One of the first big city you will travel in the South Island is Nelson which has a laid-back vibe while Motueka, a sister town makes a great base to traveling to Abel Tasman National Park. Here’s a quick travel guide on things to do in Nelson and Motueka.
- The West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand is not very popular among travelers, making it a great place to go off the beaten path. Here’s a travel guide on things to do, and where to go in West Port, New Zealand.
- Franz Josef or Fox Glacier, a question that has been asked for as long as travelers starts traveling in New Zealand. It doesn’t really matter which one you pick as both are a great place to go ice climbing. Here’s a travel guide on how to go ice climbing on Franz Josef glacier with Ice Explorer.
- You must have a seen photo of a lone tree in a lake with beautiful mountains as a background somewhere. That’s in Wanaka, New Zealand and here’s travel guide on things to do in Wanaka in one day.
- Queenstown is the adventure capital of the world. If your body can endure it, you can find it in Queenstown. Here’s a 3 days itinerary on things to do in Queenstown.
- Queenstown is also one of the best places in the world to go skydiving. Here’s my experience skydiving with the NZONE in Queenstown.
- The Milford Sound is touristy, there’s no denying it and you are not wrong to be skeptical but I can assure you, it is worth the hype. Here’s a travel guide on which cruise to pick for the Milford Sound and how to get there.
- One of the best Great Walk in New Zealand you can do is the Routeburn Track. Here’s a complete 3 days itinerary and travel guide on how to trek the Routeburn Track.
- Mount Cook is the tallest mountain in New Zealand, and the best way to see it is to hike the Hooker Valley trail. Here’s a travel guide on visiting Mt. Cook and hiking the Hooker Valley trail.
- Dunedin is a great place to end your trip in New Zealand. After all the adventure you have been through, here’s how to spend 5 days in Dunedin, taking it slow and seeing the city at your own leisure.
- Not convinced by my words about New Zealand? Come follow me and I’ll show you New Zealand in 70 photos.
- You can see all my New Zealand travel guides and related articles on my New Zealand Travel Guide page.
The Solo Traveler’s Journal is a series of posts by BucketListly where we will follow our founder, Pete Rojwongsuriya around the world as he singlehandedly travel alone and experience different cultures, people, and historical locations one country at a time.
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