In order to access Abel Tasman National Park we stayed in a small village called Kaiteriteri which had a lovely beach but not much to do if it rained. The scenery on the drive to Kaiteriteri from Picton was beautiful – a mix of forest covered mountains and views of the sea which were a great introduction to the South Island and gave an indication of what the National Park might have to offer.
Unfortunately we weren’t able to do the activity that we had been really hoping to do – sea kayaking. It was apparently too windy (although there seemed to be plenty of kayakers out in the morning) so we instead decided to do a walk in the national park, which was actually a section of the great walk that goes through Abel Tasman.
In order to get there we travelled by water taxi, which was effectively a large speedboat. It couldn’t come all the way to shore so we had to wade our way to and from the boat through the sea – a good way to ensure that everyone did some paddling! From the boat we saw the split apple rock and a New Zealand fur seal eating a squid in the water.
The sea was a beautiful turquoise colour and the beaches were a gorgeous golden sand – the coastline looked a little like that of a tropical island. The walk from Torrent Bay to Onetahuti took us along the coastline through native bush. Every so often you would catch a glimpse of the beaches and sea through the ferns which was very pretty. There were a couple of swing bridges along the walk which were fun to cross and made it feel as though we were in a jungle.
Abel Tasman was the first place we came across the Weka; a flightless bird which was pretty tame and is often referred to as the ‘Tourist Kiwi’ on account of tourists mistaking them for Kiwis but also because you are more likely to see a Weka than a Kiwi bird.