Golden sand beaches, drastic tides and lush hillsides. Abel Tasman National Park is a slice of paradise on the northern coast of New Zealand’s south island.
I explored the park on foot (aka tramping in kiwi lingo) along the AT Coast Track, camping overnight. The elevation gain was minimal (thankfully since I haven’t walked with a heavy back since Patagonia), the views were spectacular and there were plenty of opportunities to take side trails down various bays and beaches. It turned into a real luxury to leap into the brisk water and swim out to a private sand bar to break up the walking. For being high season and one of the most popular trails in all of New Zealand, there were so many empty beaches and private coves that finding solitude to appreciate the the views was possible.
At the end of my journey, I took a scenic water taxi ride back to the start, seeing all the ground I’d covered in less than 30 minutes! With all the seats full, I ended up standing next to the driver, taking in just how special this corner of the earth is, when the driver chimed in with, “Magical, isn’t it…”. And my silly grin from ear to ear was the only response I had because he nailed it in one word: magical.