The smallest New Zealand's National Park is truly a jewel that can't be missed while travelling the southern island.
Allow at least an entire day of exploration in this little paradise blessed with golden sand beaches, perfect blue waters and thick emerald beech forest.
You can travel by car if you like, but I wouldn't suggest it. The best way to enjoy the park is by boat with as many "walking and sunbathing" breaks as your timetable allows!
Embark early in the morning on one of the many catamarans that are at anchor at Kaiteriteri Beach, considered one of the most lovely spot of the southern island. The friendly crew will take you to a spectacular round trip up to Totaranui, a golden-red sand beach at the very top of the park. Enjoy breathtaking views of each and every hidden bay along the coast and make sure you have your camera with you to take pictures of the seal and penguin colonies that rest on the small rocks and islands.
The sailing companies offer many different programs to suit your tastes. I tried the SeaShuttle company which proposes a wide choice of tailored day-experience: Full Scenic Cruise, Cruise & Cuisine, Seal & Hike, Walk & Relax and many others!
A day trip at a reasonable price [74 NZ$] is the popular Full Day Experience which also allows you to enjoy a reinvigorating 2 hours walk in the forest, passing along white cliffs, deep creeks and a scaring Tibetan bridge!
After travelling along the coast from Kaiteriteri to Totaranui, disembark at Bark Bay, a white sand immaculate beach where you can have a swim before starting the easy coast track that will lead you to Torrent Bay.
While walking have a look around for the famous songbird and the many other birds that nest in the area.
Beautiful outlook between Bark Bay and Torrent Bay
If you are fit and bold you can also disembark at Totaranui and challenge yourself in the 3days - 52km coast walk that cut through the entire length of the National Park. Avoid the six-week Christmas rush if you really want to experience Abel Tasman at its best and don't forget to book the campsites:
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Not sure why this is listed under Wellington, as the closest town to the Abel Tasman is Nelson, which is a long way from Wellington (in fact is on a different island entirely). However, that said the Abel Tasman is a great spot to visit for crystal clear water and gorgeous clean sandy beaches, just be sure to check the weather forecast as it is not so enjoyable in bad weather (especially the boat trips).