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Packing list for one of New Zealand's Great Walks

Summer is upon us and it's time to tackle a Great Walk!

Abel Tasman National Park coastline

The Abel Tasman Coast Track is the chosen challenge; it's a relatively easy tramping track with some great facilities at hand and fits as the perfect way to pass a few warm, sunny South Island days.

Things to consider:

  • Hiking the Abel Tasman National ParkAre you going alone? The Abel Tasman National Park is too nicer spot to experience alone. I'm taking my partner along!
  • Will you camp or pre-book one of the large, serviced DOC huts? Here in New Zealand the high season runs from October to April, so we'll definitely have to pre-book and hope to stay in the huts so we can travel lighter.
  • What is the weather forecast? Nelson and the surrounding region is famous for getting the most sunshine in New Zealand, the forecast is looking promising!
  • Which direction shall we walk the track? This track is not a circuit track so we'll need to arrange a shuttle to get us from the end of the track (in this case Wainui) back to the start, where we've left the car (Marahau).

First things first, you can thankfully leave the tent and sleeping mat in the shed as you've secured tickets for the backcountry huts. These 'huts' are the 'Hiltons' of the backcountry world – they are modern and insulated and even have flush toilets and wash basins with filtered water. With that in mind, let's start out in the usual way.

A good quality 50L hiking pack:
Hiking Pack
One of the best things about this track is there are no climbs over 200metres, in fact there is only one that gets close to that near the end. So all things considered, this is a walk in the park – bring a comfortable pack, but no need to buy a new fancy one.

Pack liner:
Pack Liner
Rain, hail or shine, you should still use one of these.

Hiking boots or shoes:
Hiking Boots
For this type of track that is flat and well maintained, a pair of good quality hiking shoes may be preferable to a heavier pair of boots. But it really comes down to what you're used to and what you know will work for you.

Walking sandals or kiwi flip flops:
Walking Sandals
Since it's going to be warm and you'll be near the beach, these will come in handy.

Sleeping bag:
Sleeping Bag
The temperatures on the West Coast of the South Island, particularly up north are mild and warm in the summer, so a 2 season light-weight bag would be best. However, unless you have a shed full of hiking gear, you probably only have the one bag that you use for all adventures, so if this is the case, it'll have to do.

Rain Jacket:
Waterproof Jacket
The usual story here – a light weight, waterproof jacket is essential for any hiking trip, no matter what the forecast.

Clothing including thermals:
Thermals
Yes, I still recommend you pack at least one pair of thermals, even if only to wear in the evenings. Also you'll want some good, quick dry, breathable clothing as you'll likely be working up a sweat. A pair of bathers
Bathers / Togs / Swimwear
(aka togs or swim wear) would be beneficial on this track as the waters can be very enticing. A good sun cap would be handy too. Bring at least one heavy, warm top for the evenings.

Camping stove, cooking and eating utensils: You'll be cooking in the hut, so a light-weight butane gas burner
Butane Gas Burner/Stove
will be perfect (rather than the kerosene style
Kerosene/Liquid Fuel Stove
more commonly used at altitude or in freezing conditions). You'll obviously need at least one pot
Cooking Pot
, a pocket knife
Pocket Knife
, fork and spoon
Fork and Spoon
– don't bother with a 'spork'
Spork
– they're gimmicks if you ask me.

Lighter and matches in a little container:
Lighter/Matches in a Waterproof Container
Borrowing a lighter from someone else in the hut will hardly set you in good stead for the rest of the night!

Camera:
Digital Camera
Do a quick Google Image search for 'Abel Tasman National Park' and you'll see why a camera is crucial on this Great Walk!

First Aid Kit:
Personal First Aid Kit
Again, because this would not really be considered as remote, you don't need to go overboard. But still pack some pain killers, basic bandages, strapping tape, sun cream and hayfever tablets. Toiletries
Personal Toiletries
could also be included here.

Food: Click here for a few ideas on what to bring.

Some final things to consider: Mobile phone coverage is poor, so leave it in your car. It isn't really necessary to take a personal locator beacon on this adventure (unless of course you have one handy) as you'll be found pretty quickly, unless you stray far off the track. But definitely, as always, let the Department of Conservation know of your intentions – how long you plan to spend in the park and how many people you are with.
Make sure you get a tidal chart and plan your hiking distances around the two estuaries that are only passable at low tide. Consider bringing a travel towel
Travel Towel
too, so you can wash off after a warm, hot day's hiking.

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