Everybody who’s been to New Zealand will tell you to visit Abel Tasman National Park, so of course it was pretty high up on our hit list! You’ll probably hear that kayaking is the best way to see it, but if you’re anything like us, you may not be particularly keen on the paddling effort required around the many coves and islands of its 50km coastline! You also might have a fear of capsizing with your cameras, and if you’re like us, tend to have some form of paddling argument when sharing a kayak!
If this rings a bell, then there are lots of great alternatives for you, including the Abel Tasman Water Taxi!
Being the smallest National Park in New Zealand, you can walk the whole coastline in a few days, camping along the way. Or if like us, your time is a little limited, you can take the Abel Tasman water taxi and tailor your route however you like. Keen to see the beautiful coastline and beaches up close, as well as the lush forestry and trekking routes, we opted for a half day cruise and half day trek. As we hurtled across very choppy waters, we were relieved to be sitting pretty in our sturdy boat!Now fully accustomed to the cool Spring climate and unpredictable rain showers on the South island of New Zealand, we were pleasantly surprised to wake up to a nice clear blue sky the day we planned to visit. So after the usual dilemma of how many layers to wear in case of a change in weather, just like when we completed the fox glacier hike, we were ready for our tour. On route to the park, our guide assured us we were going to have great weather that day with only the potential for a south easterly wind kicking in later in the day – result!
Abel Tasman Water Taxi Review
As we pulled into the first bay of Kaiteriteri to catch our boat, we had our first glimpse of the beautiful golden coloured sands and lush deep forest backdrop of the park. We couldn’t wait to get going and see the rest!
Sailing West along the coast from Kaiteriteri to Totaranui and back, we meandered through the various coves and little islands along the way, stopping occasionally to appreciate the wildlife and stunning views. We saw seals, a couple of stingrays and lots of native birds, but apparently you can sometimes see dolphins or penguins hanging out of the water if you’re lucky.After a few hours of sailing, we were dropped off at Torrent Bay to begin our 3 hour trek to Bark Bay.Cutting inland a little, we trekked through the native bush and lush forestry. The unspoiled natural landscape was amazing and we especially loved the moments when we got a glimpse of the crystal clear bays below, like this discrete golden sandy beach.The trek got even more interesting when we had to cross a few hair raising Indiana Jones style rickety bridges and passes!After arriving at our final destination of Bark Bay, we wandered along the beach and savoured our last moments of tranquility before being picked up by our boat. There is literally nothing on the beaches, so if you’re looking for a castaway feeling, you’ll definitely find it here! We’d probably recommend visiting during the summer months however so that you can also appreciate a swim in the crystal clear water, it was too cold for us!Even though we only trekked a short way along the beautiful Abel Tasman coastline and spent just a few hours cruising the rest, we felt like we got a great experience of its beauty and would also highly recommend a visit to anyone touring New Zealand! For those who prefer a full day trek, there are numerous options in Abel Tasman, or you could attempt the Tongariro crossing!