Abel Tasman Double DipIntermediate
Submitted by Mike Steel
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Front country - easily accessible
Undulating, some big hills
Native bushBeachCoastalRiversideOpen ridges/tops
A journey from Marahau into the idyllic Abel Tasman National Park, giving a taste of both coastal track and the more remote Inland Track, coupled with a bracing plunge into Cleopatra's pool, and a second dip into the warmer ocean at Apple Tree Bay. Can be run whatever the tides.
From the large carpark at the start of the uber-popular Abel Tasman, head across the bridges that span the estuary, then follow the coastal track a short distance to where the marked Inland track branches off to the left. Leave the masses behind and follow this single track as it climbs gently up through pleasant bush before it steepens up for a couple of sections, leading to some large rocks that provide a good viewpoint.
Beyond here the gradient lessens again and passes a turn-off to your right (which you will take 16km later!) as you make your way up to Holyoake Clearing shelter (593m), then into the more lush forest that climbs and undulates gently on a more remote (but well-marked and mostly runnable) track up to Castle Rocks Hut (730m) which is a good spot to have a break/stretch. Here a marked short side track leads down and up to a spur with some big rocks and views on it, and gorse.
From Castle Rock Hut head back 8km down the way you came up and take the side-track left that drops down towards Torrent Bay. Follow this track (and signs to Torrent Bay) all the way back to the main track then turn left and follow signs to the nearby Cleopatra's pool. This lies a short distance off the main trail, and is a delightful deep pool in the river below sloping waterfalls. After a refreshing plunge in the lower and/or upper pools head back to the track and continue on the main coastal track (there's the option of dropping down to Anchorage at one point, but this is a detour).
At Apple Tree Bay, you get a second chance to get completely wet on a very pleasant golden sand beach (toilets here). Return to the main trail and follow it out the last cruisy 5.5k. The only remaining technical challenge is likely to be dodging the many day walkers with their poles and oversized packs. Right at the end of the trail there's a cafe that makes a mean banana smoothie.
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Features of interest
Interesting rock formations. Golden sand beaches and nice rock pools/streams. Interesting mix of trail types.
Make Up of Run
Technical Single Track: 30%
Moderate Single Track: 20%
Easy Single Track: 50%
Start from the big car park at the far end of Marahau (start of the Abel Tasman track)
Lots of parking, though there will also be lots of cars!
Make navigation of this route super-easy by using the RunHunters app on your phone. View on RunHunters .
You are on well-marked tracks the whole way, but you wouldn't want to get off-course higher up on the Inland track, so stay alert.
Short-sleeved thermal top, Windproof jacket, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival blanket, Cellphone, Map.
Water at the two huts you pass on the Inland track. Water from streams might be a bit dubious especially on the coastal track. There is a tap with water at Apple Tree Bay but it says to treat or boil it.
Can be run in most conditions. Note that it will be cooler up near Castle Rock Hut than down by the coast.
Watch for tree roots in a few places on the Inland trail; also you may need to go around occasional trees blocking the trail.
In Cleopatra's pool there's an exciting/vigorous diagonal-sloping water slide (obvious only when you swim over and climb up on a rock) - you can slide down it by getting into the 'washing machine' pool between the two waterfalls, but once you start, there's no going back (and loose-fitting running shorts are likely to end up round your ankles!). Take care if you try this (risk of slight bruising on rocks).
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