Able Tasman Coastal Track – day 5

Day 5, 27 Nov, 2018 – Whariwharangi Bay to Totaranui via Separation Point (10.5 km)

Today is our last day of hiking. Returning to Totaranui to catch a water taxi back to Marahau and onward by shuttle to Nelson. It did rain last night but looks promisingly good this morning. I strolled the compound around 0600. A single Tui bird fed on nectar of a flax plant.

We left around 0830 and wandered around isolated Whariwharangi Bay. A gradual climb brought us to a junction. One path leads directly to Totaranui (later with another option, that is,via Gibbs Hill).  This is a better option if wanting to walk via Gibbs Hill and not the other way (ie Totaranui to Whiriwharangi via Gibbs Hill). The accent is difficult especially in wet weather. The second path is a detour via Separation Point. Today, we decided to head to Separation Point.

Day 5 – Whiriwharangi to Totaranui
Day 5 – Whiriwharangi to Totaranui

We came across many kill traps set up by DOC to get rid of introduced pest like rodents. Flowering Lupine can be found in small clusters. It was a gradual walk and from the hills, we had a fantastic view of Mutton Cove. On a narrow path we edged towards Separation Point around 1000. The water was absolutely clear. At the bottom of the rocky beach, fur laid sunning on the rocks while some swam happily in the water. On a steep path, I descended to the edge of this rocky outcrop. Lots of flax, prickly plants and gorse bushes along the path. Besides seal, gannets also make this isolated place home, when in season. Beyond this point is the Tasman Sea.

We retraced our walk steep uphill climb and back inland. Soon we were back on the sandy coast, Mutton Cove. We had to negotiate some rocky outcrops to proceed. A giant male seal choose to rest on the rocks. Carefully, with one eye on the seal and the other on the shifting rock, we managed to continue out track along the coast. Soon we found the familiar Anapai Beach.

Day 5 – Whiriwharangi to Totaranui

Finally, we arrived at Totaranui around 1330. We rested at the museum and waited for our water taxi pick-up. Plenty of sand-flies. We boarded at 1500. It was a fantastic and smooth ride. We stopped over at Tonga and Adele Islands. A small colony of fur seal had taken refuge here. The whole boat was loaded onto a tractor-trailer and hauled back to Marahu. Arrived at around 1630. After a long day, we returned to the comforts of a modern apartment in Neslon.

The Able Tasman National Park is managed by the Department of Conservation (DOC). There is plentiful of information and booking opportunities on-line. Huts must be booked in advance to avoid disappointments during peak seasons. This track is open all year round (no snow in the coastal region, yet!) Water taxis are at your convenience which enable you to get into the park at various destinations and time spent. Insect repellent is advised to keep sand flies in check. Travel light with all-weather gear, food and cooking utensils (including stove). Beware of the tidal timings as it may be crucial for onward travel (especially when no high tide alternative track is not available). Daily information is updated in all the huts by the rangers. Talk to them as they are local with wealth of information. Enjoy the spectacular tidal change, lagoons, fast flowing streams, isolated cove, native forest, emerald-green and turquoise water and beautiful golden sand beaches. Throw in the birds and wild life, Able Tasman Coastal Track is simply amazing.

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