- Beach / Seaside Resort
- Nature Reserve / Wildlife Observation / Safari
- Hiking / Trekking
I've been lucky enough to visit the Abel Tasman National Park twice and it's one of my favorite places in New Zealand. It's a picture postcard - lush forests, sandy beaches, crystal waters; as inviting as an island paradise even if the sea is a little cooler. If you want to go swimming, wait until the summer months. When I was last there, one October, I lacked the courage!
I spent six days exploring the Abel Tasman Coast Track. This walk will suit anyone. It's relatively flat and there are a number of places to stop for a rest or swim. Parked up at the Totaranui campsite and using my van as my base, I had easy access to the track so could go out on day hikes. The other option is, of course, to do the trek from one end to the other. Starting at Marahau and finishing at Wainui, you'll find campsites and DOC hostels along the way. You can also tour the region by canoe.
I really enjoyed a little detour via Separation Point, where you can see colonies of seals. Be careful where you tread...I didn't notice and almost stepped on a seal that was dozing on a rock!
An area you musn't miss out on, during a vacation in New Zealand, particularly if, like me, you love hiking and heavenly beaches.
The best way to discover all of Abel Tasman National Park's attractions is to take the "great walk" connecting Marahau to Wainui Bay. This 55-kilometer trek along the coast led me from bay to bay, passing through lush forests and through passes, each of which seemed higher than the last (but don't worry, it's just how far you've walked that gives this impression!).
Along the way, my nights were reserved in public campgrounds, each different than the last. One of them, sheltered under trees at the edge of a large yellow sand beach, only offered the bare minimum (tap and toilet), and had 5 tent sites. With my hike in the low tourist season, I was the only one in the place! How peaceful it was, and what a wonderful sight when I woke up!
Upon arriving at Separation Point, the point at the end of Abel Tasman Bay, my first thought was of the rocky coast of Brittany. Taking advantage of the exceptional weather, many seals were relaxing on the rocks below, while others were performing pirouettes in the water.
After a tortuous drive from Nelson to Motueka, arriving in the Abel Tasman area is paradise for nature lovers.
Most of all, Abel Tasman Park is beaches of golden sand and turquoise water as far as the eye can see. I went kayaking there, and this is an excellent way to explore the coast. Depending on how much time you have, you can get out at one of the park's coves and walk to the following stop (usually a few hours) where a boat will pick you up.
But the best thing to do is hike for 3 to 5 days to explore the whole park. And then if you want even more, Golden Bay is right next to the park, and it also has some wonderful sites to see.