Introducing Abel Tasman National Park
In New Zealand's Abel Tasman National Park, discover a lush green wilderness of native forest, waterfalls, estuaries and wetlands that fringe sculptured granite cliffs and stunning golden-sand beaches – the perfect spot for adventurous honeymoon couples.
The best way to see this lush 22,530ha coastal park is by walking or kayaking – the park is a world-renowned kayaking destination. The equally famous Coastal Track offers a mix of native forest, coastal bush walking, gentle climbs to lookouts and scenic walks across idyllic secluded beaches.
The more demanding Abel Tasman Inland Track explores the interior and stretches for 38km between Tinline Bay and Torrent Bay. Hike through regenerative native beech forests from one gorgeous beach to the next, stopping to sunbathe on the pristine golden sand and to snorkel beneath soaring sculpted granite cliffs.
Along the way, listen out for the calls of native birdlife such as tuis, bellbirds, shags (cormorants), gannets and pukekos. Watch cormorants, gannets and blue penguins dive for food along the coast and see fur seals lounging on the rocks on Tonga Island. Or explore the scenic coastline on a combined kayak, hiking and water taxi cruise.
To escape the summer crowds that pour along the coastal track, hop into a kayak and paddle the pristine shoreline of that hikers aren’t easily able to reach. It’s easy to hire a kayak for a day or a week or you can join a guided sightseeing tour from Motueka, Marahau or Kaiteriteri for a mix of hiking, kayaking and cruising, returning each evening to your lodge – water taxis provide pick-up and drop-off services to several beaches along the coast.
Honeymoon couples can discover private lodges at Awaroa and Torrent Bay and various comfortable accommodations at Marahau and Kaiteriteri at the southern end of the Park and at Totaranui at the northern end.
Or overnight at one of four Department of Conservation (DOC) huts along the Coastal Track, which can sleep up to 30 people each and offer the basics of mattresses, water and restrooms; some also offer cooking facilities.
Almost every beach offers water (which you may have to boil before drinking), toilets and fire pits for barbecues.
Best time to visit Abel Tasman National Park
Anytime. The top end of the South Island has a temperate maritime climate, generally warm from November to April with an average in the Abel Tasman National Park and Marlborough Sounds of 17˚C.
Temperatures reach an average high of 24˚C in summer (December to February) and an average of 8˚C to a low of 3˚C in winter (June to August). This region enjoys some of the sunniest skies in New Zealand, particularly around Blenheim and Nelson.
Note: Although mild year round, sea temperatures are most comfortable for swimming between December and March.
Abel Tasman National Park is located at the northern end of New Zealand’s South Island, 60km north of Nelson – an easy 70-minute drive.
A daily ferry service runs between Wellington and Picton. The 92km scenic voyage takes 3 hours; the 140km drive between Picton and Nelson takes around 2 hours.
Three hours from Sydney and Brisbane to Wellington or Christchurch, 6.5 hours from Perth (via east coast).