“Climb, descend, run across a breathtakingly beautiful golden sand beach, call it paradise. Repeat.”
— Kristen McGlynn
Birding · Swimming · Views
Reservations are required to camp or stay at the huts and can be made online
If you don't mind running on some sandy beaches, this would make for a great run.
This section of the Abel Tasman track has to be one of the most stunning. From Awaroa, you can see the series of bays and inlets that you'll be running across, but even this lovely overview doesn’t do justice to the stunning scenery the lies ahead. Essentially, your day will be spent wandering between lush rainforest-covered hillsides and golden sand beaches. Just when you think you can’t possibly top the last beach, the next beach is even more of a hidden paradise than the one before.
The run does start with a low tide only crossing of the Awaroa Inlet. Unlike the other crossings on Abel Tasman, this route does not have a high tide option, and it can be dangerous to cross outside of 90 min before and 2 hours after low tide. We crossed about 30 min before low tide, and still had to wade through water that was up to our knees. When this estuary is full, the water would definitely be shoulder depth or deeper so don’t chance crossing if you are outside of the low tide window. Tide times are posted at a bulletin board on the north side and at Awaroa Hut on the south side.
The crossing itself is about 1 km of running through sandy/muddy terrain with several water crossings and lots of shells. Bring some jandals (flip-flops) to throw on to avoid having to go barefoot (or be ready to get your shoes wet). It is quite interested to cross the huge empty river basin and see the empty riverbed - there are many small crabs that you can spot scuttling about around your feet. If you are staying at Awaroa, be sure to go look at the river at high tide as well--it is impressive to see the fluctuation in the amount of water in the inlet.
Once across the river, the trail is well-maintained and very easy going. The entirety of this stretch continues along the coast, hopping from one golden beach to another. In between the beaches, you'll climb and descent steeply as you go up and over the rocky headlands that separate the beaches, but the track is extremely well packed and not technical at all so these climbs are more of a leg burning challenge versus a technical ascent.
All-in-all, you'll cross five beaches, each more beautiful than the last. There are fewer water taxi services to this portion of Abel Tasman. While you won’t be alone, this does reduce the number of people you'll encounter making it feel a bit more like your own private paradise. You'll be also running along the coast of the marine reserve, and the crystal clear aquamarine waters in combination with the golden sand of the bays and beaches is truly idyllic.
After your last climb, it is an easy descent to the final beach of the day and then come to the Whariwharangi hut and campsite.
Flora & Fauna
Weka, fantails, bell birds. Possums (watch out for your food if you are camping!) Lowland podocarp forest with Nikau palms, fern palms, rimu, and totara. Several massive California monterey pine trees along Goat Bay and Whariwharangi Beach - although not native, they are pretty impressive and make for some nice shade along the beach.