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Abel Tasman National Park is one of the most popular destinations in New Zealand. It is named after the Dutch explorer who is the first known European to land on New Zealand and Tasmania. The national park is located on the northern coast of the South Island; situated between Golden Bay and Tasman Bay. It might be New Zealand’s smallest national park, but with over 22,000 hectares, I wouldn’t call it small and there is plenty to do in the park with something for everyone on holiday whether you like to relax on the beach or go adventuring, or a little bit of both. If you are already on the South Island or plan to fly in for your holiday, you can hire a car at Rentalcar.co.nz in Blenheim at the airport. From Blenheim, you can enjoy the lovely 2 ½ hour coastal drive to Abel Tasman National Park along the coast and through Mount Richmond Forest Park. Having your own vehicle rental gives you the freedom to get around as you please without having to rely on a taxi or a tour bus.
Things to Do in Abel Tasman National Park
Whether you drive to the park just for a day or plan to camp out and stay for your holiday, you will, no doubt, enjoy the beautiful nature here. Here are some of the highlights of things to do while in Abel Tasman National Park including walking the trails, relaxing on the beaches, camping, cruising, boating, and snorkelling.
Abel Tasman Coast Track
The Abel Tasman Coast Track is multi-day track that is 60 km long. It takes up to 5 days to walk the entire intermediate level track, but you can also pick and choose portions of the track for a single-day walk. There is road access at either end of the track at Marahau in the south or Wainui in the north, and at Totaranui Beach. If you aren’t in for the entire 3 to 5 day walk, you might choose one of the most popular sections of the track from Bark Bay to Torrent Bay. It is 7.8 km and includes walking over the Falls River on the 47 metre swing bridge, scenic views over the bays, and some steep paths. It is a great mix of scenery, coastline, and adventure. If walking and hiking is your thing, then you might also want to check out the 5 other tracks in Abel Tasman National Park:
1. Gibbs Hill Track: An advanced level track that includes hiking and mountain biking.
2. Harwoods Hole Track: This is an easy, 45 minute (one way) track at Harwoods Hole, the deepest vertical shaft in New Zealand.
3. Inland Track: Another multi-day track that takes about 3 days to complete through the forested inland where wildlife and birdwatching can be found.
4. Totaranui Walks: These intermediate level tracks are found near Totaranui Beach.
5. Wainui Falls Track: This is a 30 minute, easy bush track that takes you along the Wainui River which leads you to Wainui Falls.
Camping and Accommodations in Abel Tasman National Park
There are 20 different campsites within Abel Tasman National Park. You can be sure that there is no shortage of places to pop your tent and stay the night. It is quite popular in the park, but you can also stay at the Totaranui Education Centre, ‘Ngarata’ Homestead or one of 7 huts if camping isn’t your thing, or if you like to mix it up.
Totaranui Beach is one of the most popular coastal destinations in Abel Tasman National Park. It is located near the north end of the Abel Tasman Track we told you about and also has a campground. You can relax on the golden beaches or take a dip in the ocean, go boating, kayaking, or take a cruise.