A bird’s-eye view
A new perspective on Abel Tasman National Park can be gained from heading inland from the coastline with visits to Porter Rock and two huts.
The trip starts from Canaan Downs, by following the Moa Park Track towards Wainui Saddle, and admiring the various mountain bike tracks on offer in this area. The landscape, with its mix of rolling hills, beech forest and karst rock formations, is a far cry from the coastal scenery of the park.
After passing the turn-off to Wainui Hut, the track climbs steeply to Moa Park, a sub-alpine basin that lies at around 1000m. With the beech trees replaced by tussock, the first views across this peculiar basin open up.
There’s a shelter at Moa Park, which offers an excuse for a short break before continuing on to Castle Rock Hut and eventually down to the coast as part of the Inland Track. A detour to a lookout is signposted before reaching the sidetrack that leads to Porter Rock. Within 10 minutes of leaving the main track, you’re on top of the rock formation jutting out of the bush, offering a 360-degree view of the whole Abel Tasman National Park.
We took time to enjoy the bird’s-eye view of the park before making our way back to Moa Park to then follow the Inland Track to Awapoto Hut. This trail does not offer much variety or excitement, apart from the occasional weka scuttling across the track.
At the hut, though, the forest opens up again presenting wonderful views to the coast and across Awaroa Bay. The hut itself is also a pretty sight, with its mint green exterior, wooden interior and (if you’re lucky) sun-drenched deck. When we were there, five juvenile kea playing in the grass in front of the hut gave us an afternoon’s entertainment.
The following morning, we made short work of the 6km backtrack along the ridge to the first junction and the track leading steeply down to the Wainui River and on to Wainui Hut. There is then a short climb to Wainui Saddle and the Moa Park Track to complete the loop to the car park.
– Myrthe Braam
- Total Ascent
- Car park to Porter Rock, 2hr; ToAwapoto Hut 4hr; To car park via Wainui River, 5hr
- Awapoto Hut ($5, 12 bunks); Wainui Hut ($5, four bunks)
- From SH60 between Takaka and Motueka, turn off at Canaan Road and follow for 11km to the road end
- Awapoto Hut via Porter Rock (gpx, 18 KB)
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