Whilst I was in New Zealand I really wanted to walk the Abel Tasman track but unfortunately as it was the middle of summer the walking track was fully booked.
So, taking my life in my hands (and a good friend with me) I decided to visit the park in a sea kayak instead. For hire go to www.seakayak.co.nz or www.abeltasmankayaks.co.nz either are similar in price and quality.
The first (and probably a bit boring) thing to say is check your travel insurance policy before you do this. Many travel companies exclude kayaking at sea and it is VERY expensive if you need to be rescued by helicopter. The New Zealand coast guard will charge you too!
Andy and I hired sea kayaks for an unescorted two night trip. This meant that we would be able to travel most of the way along the track, stopping at campsites / huts to sleep and we would also be able to go out to some of the islands off the coast. As you can't do this walking I guess that it was a good thing!
On the first day the sea was quite rough and I found it very scary at some points. Kayaking is hard work but it is also very relaxing when you get into it. We got as far as "the mad mile" which is a rough bit of sea with rocks so I would make sure that either the weather is good or that you are very confident in your ability before you attempt to do this.
The view at sea is amazing - you can see dolphins in the distance and fish below you if you are lucky. The sky was blue and then it was grey and cloudy and the sea blue. You could see the lush green vegetation of the Abel Tasman National Park. I would highly recommend kayaking as a great way of seeing the park,
Where do you sleep? There are huts to sleep in or you can bring your own tents. We slept in a tent both nights. The camp sites are basic but have toilets and water for your to drink. I would boil the water before drinking though just to be safe! On the first day we took a 4 hour walk along some of the track. It is mainly boardwalk through the forest and along the coast. This makes it very accessible although it was nice not to be carrying all our kit as we could leave it in the tent! You will need a reasonable level of fitness to walk the track as it is up and down hills and is a bit rough in some places.
On the second day we did the "mad mile" this is challenging but it was fantastic fun. The rest of the days trip was around 10 km and I absolutely loved it. The only mistake that I made was to forget my sunscreen on my lips so I ended up with horrid cracked lips. Take your sun screen!
Again good weather and an idyllic trip. Another comfortable night in a tent and I actually slept incredibly well. I really enjoyed this!
On our way back to return the kayaks we tripped out to an island which we had to ourselves for 3 hours. This was utter bliss and I wish that I had been with a boyfriend instead of a friend!
Overall I loved this experience and would definitely recommend this as a great treat
The Abel Tasman Park is situated at the north end of the New Zealand south island. Me andmy family got there by taking a flight from heathrow to Wellington and then took a boat from Wellington (north island) to Picton and from there a drive to Nelson and then on to our final destination of Motueka. We stayed in a hotel there and that would be our base for the week. Motueka is situated right on the coast and with outstanding views of the sea and the north island we were rather pleased with our choice of hotels, but our holiday wasn't about hotels but about walking, getting out in the bush and enjoying the scenery. The park was named after the first European discoverer Abel Tasman. It's main attraction is the combination ofmiles of deserted coastline and also miles of bush. We set off on foot from Motueka as this was the best way to travel asroad access is very limited. We mainly took the coastal path. We chose this as, only having a week on the island, we were told that this walk took 4 days to complete. We actually atarted out on this way and walked for miles around the north west coast of the north island. We took in the unbelievable scenery. The scenery mainly included birds of all shapes, sizes and colours. Unfortunately we didn't see any kiwis but we were told that not many people do. We were quite disappointed but this was made up for when we got within about 15 metres of a whole flock of beautifully coloured yellow and blue birds. Of course, the mother, only went and used the flash on the camera while taking the first photograph and the birds were off, but we've forgiven her since! We actually stayed in small huts every night we were out in the bush, these were included in the price of the holiday and we picked the keys up before we started out. These were comfortable and well equipped, with all the toiletries so you could feel good the next day knowing that you were clean as we got very sweaty and tire
d. Food is also provided in thes huts, they are well equipped with everything you need including, lamb (the traditional meat of New Zealand). It is a very good idea, combining a well balanced diet and the foods which the native people eat most commonly themselves. It was deliscious! Also good to know is the tap water is drinkable in New Zealand. For the las two days of our holiday we spent our time in the beautiful bush and foothills. These higher areas give exotic views of the sea and you can really experience the beauty of New Zealand. The las day of our week comprised of making the long journey back to Wellington, thankfully by car and boat, and not by foot! There is some disabled access, reduced transport in winter and there's a daily bus tour from Nelson. Tips for going to New Zealand: 1: Take lots of sun cream as believe me you will burn alive! 2: Take a lot of water with you on your walks and hikes, because dehydration is a big danger, remember you're miles from any help. If you want to take a mobile phone be discrete, it's the wildlifes habitat, not your own! 3: Take a first aid kit with you as remember you're miles from anywhere! 4: Notify the local search and rescue or someone in Motueka that you are on your trip and give your trail and what time you expect to arrive at your destination. 5: Take care not to litter or harm the environment. The New Zealanders as they have a right are protective of their country and their wildlife. 6: Be very careful and check the tides before you leave as if you wander onto a sand spit you could have your way back yo dry land blocked. 7: Take things that you think a camper or a scout would take, no matter how silly it sounds, eg a piece of rope, torch anything which could come in useful. 8: and last but not least, use your common sense and don't do anything stupid!
"Abel Tasman National Park is situated on the northwestern coast of the South Island of New Zealand. Established in 1942, the park covers 226 sq km (87sq mi) between Separation Point and Marahau Inlet on South Island's Tasman and Golden Bays. It extends inland for an average of about 9.7km (about 6 MI). The park also includes the Tata Islands in Golden Bay and Tonga, Adele, and Fisherman Islands in Tasman Bay. The mainland section of the park consists of a range of limestone and marble hills, the slopes of w hich are covered with a wide variety of vegetation, including an area of rain forest in the Lower Wainui Valley."