Kia ora and greetings! I am having a solo 3 week trip to the South Island in December and have most of it planned, but the ATNP part is muddling. I hope to spend the night in the park to enjoy the early morning time on the next day, since it will surely have many visitors this time of year. I am fit and prefer quieter, peaceful places. Here is what I have been thinking:
Dec. 20 Arrive Kaiteriteri or Marahau later afternoon via rental car and spend night
Dec. 21 Take 10:30 am water taxi from kaiteriteri or marahau to Awaroa Bay. Afternoon low tide is 3:11. Walk Awaroa Bay to Bark Bay (4 hours). Spend night in Bark Bay Hut. (still available as of now)
Dec. 22 Walk Bark Bay to Anchorage (3 hours). Afternoon low tide is 4 pm. Get 2:30 pm or 4:00 pm water taxi from Anchorage back to Kaiteriteri or Marahau.
Can anyone advise if this makes sense given tides, water taxi schedules, distances etc?
Im confused about which parts of the hike the tides will impact—will I be unable to hike Bark Bay to Anchorage until mid afternoon on the 22nd?
Does it make more sense to base in kaiteriteri or marahau?
Finally, I live on a gorgeous beach in Southern California in the US. Is ATNP a "must -do" or would it be wiser to move along to Farwell Spit or have addtional tiem in Punakaiki, my next stop after Kaiteriteri?