By DOC’s Anita Tibbertsma
A fortnight ago I went to check out what all the fuss was about around Abel Tasman. As an Aussie import and a newbie to the thrills of New Zealand, I wanted to try the tiny Air New Zealand Nelson plane service. My companions were too scared to try the smaller aircraft, so they travelled from the North Island by ferry. They really had nothing to worry about—the pilot landed the plane like they was cradling babies.
I was picked up from the Nelson Airport and we made our way to our first ever luxury bach experience.
One of the owners is a famous pianist and practices for hours in their home next door. Just perfect if you love piano, which I do. Especially combined with the island view, the stunning array of birds, and a deafening number of crickets.
I love my running and I was surprised to find the Abel Tasman Coast Track extremely runner friendly. I didn’t have time in this trip to do the whole thing, but as soon as I got there I realised that the clay and sand tracks are perfect.
I’m used to Aussie rainforest tracks—covered in thick layers of slippery leaves, intertwined roots and rocks, and you spend most of your time looking out for bugs, ticks and snakes, and brushing away the pesky flies. It’s still gorgeous, but sometimes I don’t know if Kiwis realise how much of New Zealand is like living within a picture-perfect fairy-tale—it’s such a contrast to the rest of the world.
DOC is doing amazing work preserving the Kiwi version of the Garden of Eden.
When you make your way back from your Abel Tasman adventure, I recommend the Park Cafe restaurant as the best spot to dine. The menu boasts that they are renowned for their classic beef goulash, which went down well for our party.
I’m certainly not the only one that has been loving the work DOC has been doing in the Abel Tasman. Air New Zealand recently escorted their Coastal Gems competition winners and got some incredible footage that highlights Tonga Island and some of the activities you can do in the area. My favourite part is the penguins swimming past the kayaks.
Next time I go, I will choose either the Kayak Seal Colony Tour around Tonga Island or the Torrent River Canyon Experience with Abel Tasman Canyons and I’d definitely like to try the Marahau Horse trek.
The Abel Tasman is a perfect way to fall in love with New Zealand.