While doing some reading about Abel Tasman National Park, we stumbled across a photograph of a bay – an ostensibly serene, isolated cove called Te Pukatea. ‘That’s our beach,’ I declared. We read that the beach could be accessed by hiking the first day’s portion of the three-day Abel Tasman Coast Track. We were keen to do some more hiking anyway, so we figured we’d do it. Well, I figured we’d do it. It was about 11 kilometers out, but obviously we’d have to turn it into an out-and-back, so we would be looking at a solid 15 miles. We had just come off of two 10-mile days of tramping with over 4,000 feet of gain each day, and Stephan wasn’t big on another long day. I spent the next half hour or so enthusiastically trying to convince him that it was a most fabulous idea. He finally conceded and agreed to our fun activity, if not to just shut me the hell up. I believe this may be a fairly regular occurrence (poor guy).
The track was very lovely. Beginning at the Marahau estuary, the well-defined path hugged the rocky coastline surrounding the Tasman Bay. Most of the walk was over flat terrain that passed under the dense canopy of the flourishing forests, with numerous footbridges that spanned miniature waterfalls and streams. At regular intervals, large gaps in the tree growth offered stunning views to the crystalline, teal-green water below.
Eventually, the trail crested a ridge overlooking The Anchorage, a large inlet dotted with motorboats. We descended the hill to Anchorage Bay, the typical stopping point for the first day of the trek. The beach here was scenic, but fairly crowded. I didn’t really expect to see that many visitors, since it was a 7-ish mile walk to get there. Then, it dawned on me… ‘Heeeeeeyyyyyyyy [as if Nancy was in my head saying it to me], there’s a water taxi!’ Apparently, I overlooked that part. I’m not going to lie, my next thoughts may have contained profanities, and those profanities may have been verbalized. It wasn’t so much the walking all the way from Marahau to get there that perturbed me, but the idea that maybe these fresh-legged fools off their fancy boat hire would swarm the nearby Te Pukatea Bay.
We continued on as, all the while, I grumbled about water taxis and Stephan listening to my stupid ideas. After navigating one last hill, we reached the bay. To our delight, there were only a handful of people; apparently Anchorage Bay was a sufficient stop for all those taxi passengers. In the end, Te Pukatea was gorgeous, and mirrored the image we had in our heads – golden sands, idyllic green waters, and near-seclusion. Another of Abel Tasman’s many coastal treasures that we wish we had more time to explore.
Total distance: 17 miles
Elevation gain: 1,586 feet