The Abel Tasman National Park is one of New Zealands top tourist destination, and once you go there, you will understand why. Golden beaches, Sea Lions, Dolphins, Silver Fearn , itÂ´s just breathtaking!
It has its name from the first visitor to the country, the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman. He arrived in New Zealand in the 17th century, way before the French or English. At the sight of the indigenous Maori people and their approach he took it as an attack and left the country, never to return.
The Abel Tasman Coastal Track is one of the Great Walks in New Zealand. In order to walk it, you have to book your hut or campsite before you enter the track. This is, if you want to spend more than one day walking or kayaking, which is highly recommendable.
Starting point for the Track that takes about 3-4 days to walk is the Park CafÃ© in the idyllic village of Marahau. You can take a water taxi from there that will drop you off at any of the beaches along the Park and then you can start walking back to Marahau, or you arrange a pick-up spot and start walking straight away. Companies are aplenty. They offer sea kayak-trips, half- full- or multi-day, guided or unguided, and you get the chance to get very close to the Sea Lions that live in the Nature Reserve around Tonga Island.
This place just feels like paradise, especially the further away from the starting point you go. A lot of visitors only take one day and walk up to Anchorage Bay, and then take the water taxi back. So the further north you go, the emptier it gets.
The water taxi companies will advise you about tidal crossings, and you have to stick to them, otherwise you might end up on the other side of the water with no way of passing through to your dry and cozy hut.
There is actually one road up to Totaranui Beach and lots of weekend holiday makers and families spend their days on the beach and nights on the campsite. A days walk brings you up to the top of the National Park and the first or last hut to spend the night in Whariwharangi Bay.
Awaroa Lodge at Awaroa Bay caters for the luxury seeking tourists, and if you walk past there during the day, you can stop for a coffee or a beer. Other than that, you will not see many houses on your way down. There is some 30 residential houses that had been built before the area was made National Park. Most of them are used as holiday homes. As there is no electricity in the park, living there can be quite basic.
One of the highlights in the Abel Tasman is the Houseboat at Anchorage Bay. The moment you arrive on the boat, you feel like being in yet another world. They serve beers and wine and a fantastic BBQ at night. Fall asleep at the gentle rocking of the boat and jump off the roof in the morning to get fresh and ready for another day in paradise â€“ and donÂ´t forget to have a yummy meal at the Park CafÃ© when you get back to Marahau.