The Abel Tasman may be New Zealand’s smallest National Park at 22,530 hectares, but it is also the country’s most visited, drawing visitors from around the world with its ridiculously beautiful coastline.

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Te Waikoropupū Springs

It was established in 1942 and is located at the top of the South Island; the nearest towns are Motueka, Riwaka, Takaka and Kaiteriteri which are home to friendly locals and a laid-back vibe. With its warm, mild climate, it’s a lovely place to visit at any time of the year.

The most noticeable features are the golden sandy beaches, the fascinating rocky outcrops (mainly granite but with a scattering of limestone and marble) and the rich, unmodified estuaries.

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Awaroa Estuary, Abel Tasman Aqua Taxi

The three largest islands in the park, Tonga, Adele and Fisherman, are home to many native plants and animal species which are very rare, a major drawcard for nature-lovers.

There are plenty of ways to explore. The 3 – 4 day walking track is wide with an easy gradient and accommodation ranging from campsites, modern DOC huts and Awaroa Eco Lodge, where you can also find delicious on-site dining options at their Harakeke Restaurant and Pizzeria.

Wilsons Abel Tasman have been showing visitors the best sights since 1841, and offer guided walks, kayak trips, and beautiful accommodation. They offer everything from affordable day-trips to fully catered 5 day adventures where you can stay in comfort and style in different lodges each night. Their website is a great resource for planning your trip – www.abeltasman.co.nz.

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Vista Cruise, Wilsons

Exploring

Those wanting to find a truly delightful piece of real New Zealand should head over Takaka Hill into Golden Bay. Home of artists and alternative lifestylers, there are secluded beaches and the Southern Hemisphere’s largest fresh water spring at Pupu. From the sleepy township of Collingwood venture north to Farewell Spit, a long finger of sand at the island’s northernmost tip, or head west to the Kahurangi National Park and the start of the Heaphy Track.

On the Water

Kayaks allow you to explore the coastline at a gentle pace and get up close with the marine wildlife including seals, birds and sea life. Guided tours – half day, full day and multi day – are led by knowledgeable local guides, ensuring you see the very best of what the park has to offer or explore at your own pace with self-guided kayak rental. During peak times, forward bookings are essential. Prices start from $150 per person. For more information go to www.abeltasmankayaks.co.nz

Abel Tasman Aqua Taxi let you choose how much walking you want to do, offering options from half a day to two days with boat assistance on the Abel Tasman Coastal Track, so you can pick and choose the most scenic parts you want to see. Other popular kayak tours include accommodation on the infamous Aquapackers ‘floating backpackers’. Explore the beaches, visit with the local seals and then enjoy a relaxing night aboard.

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Maharau Sea Kayaks

If you’re already a confident kayaker, then Maharau Sea Kayaks ‘freedom rentals’ are a great way to go on your own adventures at a cheaper price. They can give you all the gear and a thorough briefing before sending you on your way for between 1 – 5 days hire period. Or if you’d prefer the guidance of an experienced local, they have full tour options available as well. Visit www.msk.co.nz to read more about all the different trip possibilities. For more info on the Abel Tasman’s water taxi, kayaking and hiking options, check out their website - www.abeltasman.com

Adrenaline

Get a truly panoramic view of the region with Skydive Abel Tasman – tandem skydiving from an incredibly lofty height over paradise. It’s the most exciting way to take in the stunning combination of islands, turquoise oceans and mountains. Choose between three heights – 9,000, 13,500 or a daring 16,500ft. Make sure you get the video footage to share with your admiring friends & family! Ask about the Abel Tasman Epic combo to combine your skydive with half a day of kayaking.

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Skydive Abel Tasman