This shallow coastline may look like any other secluded beach, but Onetahuti is actually a part of an amazing multi-day hike. The sandy shore in this photo is a section of the Abel Tasman Coastal Track in New Zealand’s Able Tasman National Park.
I live in the mountains of Colorado and am no stranger to backpacking adventures, but this trip was something entirely different to what my wife and I are accustomed to. We spent five gorgeous days hiking along this rugged coastline located on the northwestern corner of New Zealand’s South Island. This Great Walk adventure crosses no less than 12 beaches with many more available as short side trips. I believe my wife and I visited about 16 beaches as we made our way along the coast. We hiked up and over the hills connecting the beaches, across suspension bridges, and crossed two tidal flow estuaries… one of which was massive. We saw all kinds of wildlife along the trail, mostly New Zealand’s beloved birds and marine wildlife.
At Onetahuti Beach, I did little snorkeling in frigid April waters. I saw very little sea life here, but a few days later I found out that someone caught a small shark off this very beach. I also spotted what was left of a shark’s head on one of the beaches where we stayed that night. This is a unique and memorable excursion that I would highly recommend to anyone wanting to experience New Zealand’s natural coastal landscape.
I want to go back some day and do the trip by water as you can kayak the entire coast, camping at the various campsites or huts along the way. Reservations for the sites are needed in advance. Even more secluded beaches are accessible by kayak than by the trail.