If you’re looking to get into trail running, the Abel Tasman Coast Track is a superb place to start. Sun, sand and native bush foliage will follow your footsteps as you undulate between idyllic beaches and open saddles with stunning views.
Lush beech forest, large kānuka trees, fur seals and native birds dominate much of the landscape while you’ll have options to cross estuaries (if you catch the low tide) or skirt around the edges.
The Abel Tasman is a very popular Great Walk that’s probably best started at Wainui Bay or Tōtaranui in the north – to finish at Marahau in the south where there just happens to be a top place to have a bite and a drink.
Transport can be an issue getting to Wainui Bay and the entire track is a long way, so another option is grabbing a boat from Kaiteriteri north to Bark Bay, Onetahuti Bay or Awaroa – and running back to Marahau.
Old Ghost Road Trail
Distance: 85km (52.8 miles)
Trail conditions: compacted dirt, gravel, rocks and swingbridges
When to run: when it’s not raining (it’s often said to always be raining on The Coast!)
A long forgotten gold miners’ road has been brought back to life on the South Island’s west coast – or simply ‘The Coast’ as the locals coined it.
The entire Old Ghost Road trail is fairly long and you’d need to break it up into a few days. But the rewards include passing through native forest, traversing open tussock tops, crossing river flats and exploring long forgotten valleys.
The trail surface is generally firm underfoot, having recently been reformed with a mixture of compacted, crushed rock and other natural materials. Be aware that it’s also a popular route with mountain bikers.
You can either start from the north or south while Westport is your ideal base on the coast. Four ghost towns populate the route so it really a step (or trail run) back in time.
Lake Rotoiti Circuit – Nelson Lakes National Park
Distance: 23km (14 miles) with the river crossing or 31 kms (19 miles) via the swingbridge
Trail conditions: compacted dirt and gravel
When to run: mid-morning