Abel Tasman National Park is a national park situated at the northern end of the South Island of New Zealand situated in between of Golden Bay and Tasman Bay. It is named after the first European explorer who spotted New Zealand in the year 1642, Abel Tasman. This is one of the smallest National parks in New Zealand with an area of approximately 225.3 sq. Kms. The park was founded in the year 1942. It is covered by bush on all sides and has a few walking tracks for the visitors and has clear blue seas and bays with golden sand.
FLORA AND FAUNA
A lot of vegetation in this area has been destroyed because of the early inhabitants over here but the park is slowly renewing itself now. However, you can find all the four species of beech trees which are a rare sight. There is not much wildlife here except for the avian life. You can find a few blue penguins in the isolated areas of the park but their population has been decreasing too recently. You can see and hear many different birds some of them being the wood pigeons, tuis, the rare birds like wekas and cormorants. By the sea you can also find the oyster catchers.
A lot of wildlife here is under attack due to some of the introduced species in the park by the Government there and the forest departments. In the year 1880, there were too many rabbits in the park and to control their population the park authorities introduced Stoats which now instead of killing the rabbits has been targeting the blue penguins thus making it endangered. There are many traps set for these stoats in the park. So while exploring the park if you come across any trap then make sure you do not disturb these efforts taken by the authorities to protect the wildlife in the park.
Vehicles are not allowed in the park. So the only way to get in the park is through walking, by boat, kayaks or a helicopter if you wish to splurge a lot of money. There are four main car park entrances where you can park your car and then start walking towards the National Park. If you wish to go by boat or ferry then there are many companies that depart from the Marahau or Kaiteriteri and go to the main beaches at the park. There are also kayaks that help you reach the park and kayaks can also be used to travel around places in the park.
THINGS TO SEE AND DO
This is a wonderful rock pool having a natural, moss lined waterslide. It takes about an hour walk from both the Torrent Bay and Anchorage. You can reach the turn off to Cleopatra’s if you follow the high tide track between both the Torrent Bay and Anchorage. However there are two things that you need to be aware of- firstly, this track of the pool crosses a river and there is no bridge for the same. You have to hop across a few rocks and if it has been raining then this could be dangerous. Secondly, at the bottom of the waterslide there are a few hidden rocks so clear it off before using the slide.
This is a spectacular waterfall hidden in the bushes. This waterfall is situated about 1.5 hours walk from Torrent Bay. It is a little difficult to reach here as this track compared to others is quite steep in some areas. You can leave from Torrent Bay on the High Tide Track to Anchorage and then by following the signs you can reach here. It is around 15 minutes away from the Torrent Bay campsite.
Abel Tasman Coastal Track and other walks
The Abel Tasman Coastal Track is known as one of the ‘Great Walks’ of New Zealand. It takes almost 3 to 5 days to complete this walk. You have to climb around headlands, through some native forests and some beautiful beaches. This walk can be done throughout the year as it is always open. There are too many walkers and visitors especially during the summer months. However, there are many other tracks too. To experience a different view of the park, there are inland tracks that take you towards the dramatic karst landscape of Takaka Hill.
Falls River Bridge
It is a beautiful foot bridge built over the Falls River. It is situated on the track between Bark Bay and Torrent Bay.
There are two places in the park where you can go mountain biking. The first is a section of the Moa Park Track. This track can be used throughout the year. The other is the Gibbs Hill Track. This is available only during the months of May to October. And while mountain biking in the park you need to limit the group size to eight and follow the mountain bikers care code.
Blessed with a moderate climate throughout the year, golden beaches and a coastal forest, the Abel Tasman National Park has it all for the visitors. You can always choose to walk around along the various tracks or use Kayaks to go to different locations in the park. Hence, it is a perfect place for some adventure and relaxation as well.