The best part about backpacking the Coast Track is the stunning sunrises. While there are many differences between day-hiking the coast track and backpacking the Coast Track, the main difference is that as a day hiker, the odds of you seeing the sunrise – or sunset are slim. However, if you are backpacking, you will see sunrises, sunsets, and everything in between – including some stunning nighttime skies.
The decision to tramp the Coast Track is easy; it has world class beaches, stunning forests, and sea-side scenery. What is not easy, however, is deciding how long to spend on the track and deciding which direction you head on the track. If you’re an international traveler like me, or have limited vacation days, the sad reality is that you might not have the time to backpack the whole track. The first time I was in Abel Tasman, I took three days to hike part of the Track from North to South, and this is my day-by-day guide of that backpack, which covers about three-quarters of the total track, along with a side trip into the interior portion of the park. A couple of years later, I went back and hiked the top quarter portion of the track; and enjoyed it as well, but in terms of a great multi-day trip, the one I am about to describe is hard to beat for backpackers.