Abel Tasman National Park

Just when you think it can’t get any better, we spent a day in Abel Tasman National Park!

After a very long drive from Kaikoura to Nelson, we stopped to check out the weather conditions at the iSite information centre. The weather looked promising for the following day so, on the advice of the lady in the iSite we headed for Kaiteriteri, a very small town on the edge of the park.

After staying overnight we parked up at beach and bought tickets at the kiosk of Abel Tasman Sea Shuttle for the 9.00am departure. We had picked the most perfect day – blue skies with not a cloud in sight and calm waters. It was freezing cold at the start but soon warmed up as the sun rose.

Boarding our boat directly from the stunning Kaiterieri beach along with a dozen other people, we sailed northwards passing close by the most photographed piece of rock in New Zealand, “Split Apple Rock”.

Further on we pass close by this colony of Fur Seals.

As we sailed along we could see the Marlborough Sounds in the distance where we are headed in a few days but the present we just pop into a few bays along the way, sometimes just to admire the scenery, sometimes to drop people off. This place is so beautiful!

Our stops a long the way included:

Anchorage Bay
Torrent Bay
Sandfly Bay,
Medlands Beach

Eventually we reach the northernmost beach on the cruise, Tonetahuti, where we turn around and head back to Medlands Beach where, at 11.45am we and another couple, are dropped off to hike our way back to Anchorage Bay along the Abel Tasman track.

To hike the entire Abel Tasman track, one of the great “tramps” in New Zealand, takes 3-4 days so we are walking only a small section. Our walk takes us 11 kms along a track that winds its way along the coast through the native forest, up and down hills, across streams and bays. It is remote, but impossible to get lost. As the guy who dropped us off said, “keep the ocean on your left and the mountains on your right and you can’t go wrong”.

We have done a lot of wonderful walks in our travels but this really is one of the most stunning ever. The scenery is simply breathtaking – so glad we managed it on this trip.

Once we get to Torrents Bay, we have a choice of two routes back depending on the tide, the high and the low roads. The difference is that the high road takes 1 hour 50 mins whereas the low road takes 30 mins. We don’t quite make it in time to take the shorter route across the beach as the tide is coming in so the decision is sort of made for us and we take the high road.

As we look down from the high road we see a guy coming in the opposite direction on the lower route crossing the beach through the incoming tide. He is carrying the biggest backpack – I guess that’s the trouble with hiking the whole trail – you just have to carry all your food and stuff with you. Must be a great experience though. Maybe next time?

We take a short diversion to a lookout point stop and eat our lunch looking out over the most incredible views. Seems like someone else did the same at some point, as they built a very expensive 3 star restaurant right in the park. Only accessible by boat, it is supposedly one of the most exclusive place to eat in the country!

On the last leg of our walk we take a slight detour to “Cleopatras Pool”. I am glad it was only a short detour as it really wasn’t that impressive, but maybe we are getting a little blasé as we have seen so many incredible sights in this country.

Finally, after 4 hours we arrive in Anchorage Bay a little early so we just sit on a log on the deserted beach and wait for our boat to collect us for the 20 minute cruise back to Kaiteriteri and our campervan.

A truly fantastic day. One we will never forget.

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