Abel Tasman Trips pro tips:
Walk time: 3 hours
Distance: 11.9 km
Recommendations: Take 2 liters of water per person and bring a camera!
The Bark to Anchorage Hike is one of our favorite sections of the Park. It has one of the most unique campsites that is a tiny peninsular with the ocean on one side and the tidal Inlet on the other. It’s a great experience just watch out for the spring tides! Bark Bay is also the last Bay before the Marine reserve starts, so has more marine life flowing out to it.
The Hut is located around the other side of the tidal inlet about 250 meters on the North Bound Track from the Main ocean-facing beach. There is great exploring around low tide and there is a low tide crossing for the North Bound track. It is not really any faster but is a fun experience. Just try to follow the large orange guideposts for the best route.
The Journey Begins
In order to get to Anchorage, you will need to get on the South Bound Track. This is a special section of The Park. You can expect the hike to take approximately 3 hours with minimal stops although we always recommend many stops! You will be journeying through some of the older parts of the forest and as such, has a strong native bird population.
Although the beach trees may look burnt, this is just a natural mold that comes from the excess production of Honey Due. A delicious treat produced from a scale insect that lives in the bark of the beech tree feeds on the sap, and excretes the excess sugar it can’t consume as the Honeydew! This Honeydew acts as critical nutrients for the native birdlife through the winter months. Unfortunately, it is also a favorite for wasps. As such you will see a lot of wasp traps through this section as they put pressure on the native birds’ food supply.
If your anything like me, you’ll love the heart-beating nervousness of a swing bridge. We have full faith in the DOC engineers but it still gets me every time. The Falls River swing bridge is early on in this section and makes for a great photo!
Next up is the Frenchman’s lagoon lookout. If you are lucky enough to be on this section during a higher tide you will get a spectrum of colors as slowly fills up and empties each day. This is one of my favorites and can be even better to be out on the kayaks!
After ducking back through the bush again you will emerge out in the Torrent Bay village. This is one of the few private settlements remaining that was established before the National Park was formed. A great beach down the front and also the infamous low tide crossing. I always love a low tide crossing but it is a double-edged sword as there is a great addon called Cleopatra’s Pool by taking the hightide route around the Torrent Bay Inlet.
Arriving at Anchorage
Once you find the Anchorage entrance it is just a short hike over the ridge and you down on the classic Anchorage Beach. If you can resist jumping in the ocean straight away, then head down to the Southern end of the beach and you will find flushing toilets and drinking water at the hut and campsites.
Tip #1 Bring a nice lunch and picnic for a stop at Anchorage. Maybe a couple of games like kubbs or skimball
Tip #2 For an added adventure try the pit head loop