For the second time in a week, we are in Nelson, stocking up on supplies and waiting for the rain to pass as a massive low pressure system is making its way across New Zealand. In between downpours, we took full advantage of the good weather window to hike in Abel Tasman National Park and in Nelson Lakes National Park.
The rain was still falling in Nelson as we set out to Abel Tasman National Park to complete part of the Abel Tasman Coastal Track – another of New Zealand’s Great Walks. Once on the track, the sun came out and stuck around for the two days we spent on the trail, illuminating the transparent turquoise waters along the golden sand beaches of the coast. We hiked past many waterfalls, swimming holes and caves carved into granite cliffs. One of these caves became Chris’ temporary home as he laid in the shade on clean coarse grained sand next to the sea, digging for treasures that might have been left behind by early explorers.
From the coast, we headed inland to Nelson Lakes National Park where we hiked a challenging 24.3 kilometer circuit. We began with the Roberts Ridge Route, topping out at 1794 meters in elevation, before descending to Angelus Hut at 1650 meters located next to a beautiful alpine lake. After having lunch in the luxurious DOC hut, we hiked back up a ridge and began our descent to the Speargrass hut where we had originally intended to stay the night. With a couple of hours of sunlight remaining, we decided to return to the car and save our backcountry hut passes for a future excursion.
As we are writing this post, the forecast calls for a solid week of rain for most of the country. Perhaps we will seek shelter in a backcountry hut…