Where rivers join to meet the sea, starry nights seem to glimmer, and tranquil beaches look spectacular, you know you have arrived at the Abel Tasman National Park. The smallest national park in New Zealand is generously endowed by nature. From sandy beaches to clear streams and curious rock formations to wildlife, this place exudes an energy that’s contagious.
The park derives its name from a Dutch explorer, Abel Tasman. He was the first European explorer to visit New Zealand in 1642. The park was founded in 1942 and opened to public in the same year on December 18. The credit for founding this national park mainly goes to Perrine Moncrieff – a renowned ornithologist.
Things to Do in Abel Tasman National Park
Kayaking – There are several operators within the national Park that run such tours, especially from Marahau and Golden Bay.
Birdwatching – Watching Little Blue Penguins, Parakeet, New Zealand Falcon, and listening to the song birds are always a happy distraction for the visitors.
Trekking – Following the Abel Tasman Coastal Track is like experiencing one of the ‘Great Walks’ in New Zealand. It takes you through headlands, forests, and beautiful beaches.
Camping – Setting up your camps at Totaranui beach in the Abel Tasman National Park is a tempting proposition. This place is a two-hand-a-half-hour drive from Nelson.
Diving & Snorkeling – The Tonga Island Marine Reserve is the place to dive deep and explore the underwater reefs and the marine life.
While Christchurch Botanic Gardens are a nice place to spend time in the company of beautiful flowers at any time of the year, Lake Tekapo and Lake Wanaka are notable for their placid beauty.
A visit to the Toitu Otago Settlers Museum and Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre gives you a glimpse of the illustrious history of South Island.
Fiordland National Park is equally stimulating for the wildlife lovers. The beautiful rock pool, known as Cleopatra’s Pool, is an hour’s walk from Anchorage.
Where is Abel Tasman National Park?
Abel Tasman National Park is located in the northern end of the South Island in New Zealand. It lies in the Tasman and Nelson Districts. Motueka is the nearest town located 20 kilometers towards south.
Location Map of Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand
How to Reach?
By Air – The Nelson Airport is around 60 km from the national park. The Wellington International Airport is about 280 km from here.
By Road – Buses connect the national park with Nelson and the nearby towns.
By Sea – Boats from several beach destinations come to Marahau, which is less than two kilometers from the national park.
While Grampian Villa, Sussex House, and Collingwood Manor are a boutique B&B accommodations for budget travelers, the Long Lookout Gardens and Muritai Manor are popular mid-range hotels close to the national park. The Almyra Waterfront Lodge at Kina is one of the few luxury hotels close to the park. In fact, the beachfront lodges inside the park host visitors who opt for guided overnight tours.
For croissants and coffee, come to Patisserie Royale and to have the quintessential English breakfast, check out the Church Lane Restaurant. Kai Waka Cafe and Riverside Cafe are quite popular among the visitors. Up the Garden Path serves the best fruit smoothies.
Best time to visit
The region experiences mild climate throughout the year. However, the best time to visit the park is during the summer months.
Things to Remember
- Vehicles are not allowed inside the park. There are no roads for vehicular movement within the premise.
- Visitors can stroll down the park or access it via boat.
- If your budget allows, you can charter a helicopter or small plane.
- The huts and campsites inside the park need to be booked in advance.
Abel Tasman National Park Facts
- The Abel Tasman National Park is the only coastal national park in New Zealand.
- The Park is known for its granite cliffs, famous Coast Track, and golden beaches.
- Being the smallest park, Abel Tasman covers an area of 225.3 sq. km.
- Arthur’s Pass National Park
- Aoraki / Mount Cook National Park
- Paparoa National Park
- Nelson Lakes National Park
- Mount Aspiring National Park
- Fiordland National Park
- Egmont National Park
- Tongariro National Park