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Abel Tasman National Park
Abel Tasman National Park Review
Abel Tasman National Park is a stunning-yet-accessible swath of idyllic beaches backed by a rugged hinterland of native beech forests, granite gorges, and waterfalls. Unlike many of New Zealand's national parks, Abel Tasman has few serious challenges in its climate or terrain, making it a perfect place for an outdoor day trip.
Remember this area is one of the most highly visited spots in the country and you will rarely find yourselves on that dream (read: deserted) beach with nobody else in sight. If you're a die-hard outdoor enthusiast craving peace and quiet and isolation you may want to explore a less busy spot like the Kahurangi or Nelson Lakes national parks. Having said that, Abel Tasman is still an easy, accessible place to wander the coast and paddle through clear green water for hours at a stretch.
Farther on, the small town of Marahau is the gateway to the national park. There's an interpretation board posted near the park café, but you may want to stop by the Department of Conservation (DOC) office in Motueka to get maps. If you're planning to use the DOC huts, you'll need to pick up hut tickets, if you haven't already booked online. Bookings are essential most of the year. The park has excellent hiking, sailing, and sea-kayaking opportunities—and water taxis service the coves. Mid-summer, from December to February, is the peak tourist season here, so plan ahead if you'll be visiting then. If you only have a short time, wander along Marahau Beach at low tide; it's a quiet gentle place but stay below the high-tide line so as not to disturb nesting seabirds. Or walk just the first hour or so of the Abel Tasman Track, to Apple Tree Bay or Coquille Bay.
Kaiteriteri Beach. The approach to Kaiteriteri Beach is notably lovely, and the beach is one of New Zealand's prettier ones, with its curve of golden sand, rocky islets offshore, and deep clear water. This place is packed in mid-summer, but once the six-week Christmas rush is over, the area returns to its usual quiet. There is a very popular campground and several cafes in the village, although all prune their hours or close in winter.
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