Abel Tasman National Park – Treasure of South Island, New Zealand
The Abel Tasman National Park is New Zealand’s only coastal national park and its golden sandy beaches and clear turquoise water make it one of the most popular and accessible. To explore the beauty of the Park you can access by walking into the Park from Marahau, take a cruise to one of the many beaches along the Coastal Track, sea-kayak from various beaches or fly and be dropped off at Awaroa Bay.
New Zealand’s second-largest national park, comprises over 1 million acres of mostly upland wilderness. Adventure operators make it easy to find the most magical places in the region. Kayak, river rafting, mountain bike, horse, 4WD (four-wheel drive) motorbike – you name it, you can do it! Get a taste of the park with 5 day, 3 day, full day or half day excursions. The sheltered bays are perfect for cruising, sailing and sea kayaking. Look out for the seals and dolphins seen regularly in these coastal waters. On land, the Abel Tasman Coast Track follows the coastline through lush native bush, over limestone cliffs and along golden sandy beaches.
There are no roads within the Abel Tasman National Park, so a beautiful and scenic option is to take the Vista Cruise from Kaiteriteri into picturesque Medlands Beach to walk the southern section of the Abel Tasman Coast Track.
The coastal track from Medlands Beach to Anchorage is the most interesting and varied section. From Medlands to Torrent Bay (4.4 miles), the track weaves through sunny groves of Manuka and fern between breathtaking views of the granite coast and lush gullies of mature forest, to reach tranquil forest pools. Cross the rushing Falls River by an impressive swing bridge.
Walk around the stunning Torrent Bay inlet (approx 2.5 miles) and allow an extra 30 minutes to take a short side track beside a crystal forest stream to visit tranquil Cleopatra’s Pool.
From here, you have the choice of taking another side track down to the long, golden expanse of Anchorage Beach (additional 2 miles) or continue along the well-graded Coastal Track towards Apple Tree Bay (3.5 miles). Here, the native forest opens out with panoramic views across Tasman Bay towards Nelson. Rejoin the boat at Apple Tree Bay to return to Kaiteriteri.
TIPS FOR VISITORS TO THE ABEL TASMAN NATIONAL PARK
- A low level of fitness required
- Book accommodation prior to starting out on hike/walk
- If it’s dry weather, light footwear is sufficient. If wet weather, covered footwear is needed
- Make sure you check out the high and low tide times as this will affect how you go from bay to bay. Tidal crossings are at Torrent Bay, Onetahuti and Awaroa
- Any waste or rubbish must be taken out with you