New Zealand // Marlborough, Nelson and Kaikoura //

Exploring Abel Tasman National Park

There is a plethora of ways to explore the Abel Tasman National Park – no matter what combination of activities you’d like to try, there’s almost bound to be an operator who’ll oblige. Relatively few people tramp the Inland Track, and most are keen to stick to the Coast Track, with its long golden beaches, clear water, spectacular outcrops and the constant temptation to snorkel in some of the idyllic bays. Unsurprisingly, the coast is where you’ll find most of the accommodation, ranging from beachside campsites to swanky lodges. Water taxis take you virtually anywhere along the coast and as far north as the lovely beach at Totaranui. They usually give a commentary along the way, though there are also dedicated cruises, some visiting the seal colony on the Tonga Island Marine Reserve and Split Apple Rock, a large boulder that has split and fallen into two halves, like an upright neatly cleaved Braeburn.

The intricate details of the coast are best explored by kayak, either on a guided trip or by renting kayaks and setting your own itinerary. Better still, combine kayaking with walking a section of the Coast Track. Water taxi drop-offs and guided kayaking are banned in the section of park north of Totaranui, making this a much quieter area to hike and hang out.