The Abel Tasman Coast Track is 32 miles of shortbread-colored beaches and kale-green forests on the northern tip of the South Island, where many visitors are busy tramping the better-known Milford or Routeburn tracks farther south. For the most solitude, go between May and October, when the summer people have disappeared, leaving the sand to the oyster catchers, the tui songbirds, and you. Plan for a hike of four days and start in Marahau, near Nelson. You'll cross gin-clear streams and tides from the Tasman Sea, sleeping at tent sites or in park-managed huts with bunk beds until you hit Awaroa. There, you'll find cold drinks at the luxury Awaroa Lodge and a yellow water taxi to take you back to Marahau. [From $14 for campsites, $32 for huts; doc.govt.nz]
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