Famous for its golden beaches, beautiful bays, rocky cliffs, and its marine life, Abel Tasman National Park is a paradise for exploration both on water and on land. The almost perfect weather during our stay in the park added up to the experience.
Tourism at Abel Tasman National Park
As in many places that we visited in New Zealand, also at Abel Tasman National Park there are tons of overpriced activities like skydiving, guided kayak tours, and boat rides. Even renting a kayak without a guide or voucher is NZD 150 per day. While I am usually not willing to pay so much for so little value, renting the kayak at Abel Tasman was the best decision for exploring the park. And I am very happy I did not join a guided kayak tour, because then you travel in groups of 8 or more people, and many of them have never kayaked before and hence slow down the whole group.
Hidden Bays and Seals Discovery by Kayak
I was really glad I could convince Ilinca despite the rather cool morning to join me on the kayak. After a (useless) one hour safety instruction, we started paddling towards Fishermen Island which has some lonely beaches that are only accessible by kayak and has some nice rocky cliffs to pass. We stopped at one of the beaches. If the water temperature had been a bit warmer, I could have declared it as the perfect beach.
After our first stop we crossed to Adele Island, a wild island with lots of forest and birds on top and with another beautiful and completely lonely beach. As we both had the need to go to the toilet we stopped at this beach quickly. Of course there was no toilet there, but plenty of natural opportunities. While trying to hide in the bushes next to the beach, Ilinca then suddenly spotted a large seal that was lying lazily on the beach. She was quite surprised, but happy to see the seals in their natural habitat. From that moment on we kept our eyes open and discovered another seal on that beach.
When continuing our paddles, we past a whole colony of seals, most of them on land, but some of them curious enough to swimm within about one meter from our kayak. Later on we had lunch on another lonely beach, and then returned to the village in the afternoon.
The whole paddling was for around 15 km and we were both quite tired when we returned the kayak, but it was worth all the effort. After an initial bad mood in the morning, Ilinca also enjoyed the animals and the nature that could be spotted from the kayak.
Hiking along the Coast
On day two, we took things a bit easier and went for a hike along the beautiful coast line to get the opposite perspective. From the cliffs we saw two stingrays floating along the beaches, and of course again many birds. On the hike we met quite a few trampers who started a four day trek with their heavily loaded backpacks, for us it however was only a half day trip. I cannot exclude however that one day I return back here to do the full trek, because nature is simply stunning here.
Off to the West Coast
In the afternoon of day two we continued our drive towards the west coast. It was a beautiful four hour drive over passes and through deep valleys, all in wonderful nature.