Kia ora!  Hello!

I feel like its been awhile, but I guess it’s only been about a week or so. I’ve covered a lot of ground during that time, so let’s get going with Abel Tasman, shall we?

The Abel Tasman National Park is located toward the western end of the northern coast of the south island and is “renowned for its golden beaches, granite cliffs, and world-famous Coastal Track”.  I think I read it is New Zealand’s smallest yet most popular national park.  It, along with the Tasman Sea and Tasmania, was named after Abel Janszoon Tasman, “a Dutch seafarer, explorer, and merchant, best known for his voyages of 1642-1644 in the service of the Dutch East India Company.”  He was the first known European explorer to reach New Zealand and interact with the Māori. I understand these initial encounters did not go well, so he moved on along with his explorations.

I enjoyed two and a half days kayaking and exploring before the rain drove me south.

These first photos are from my wanderings along the start of the Abel Tasman Coast Track, which is one of New Zealand’s 10 Great Walks.  My campground, The Barn Cabins and Camp sits at the official start of the AT Coast Track so it was easy to go wandering right from my little van


A sweet spot in a cove a few coves up from where my campground was.

Same cove as above, but this is where the pirates hide their treasure.

My campground is just across this bay/cove, but it’s hard to see.  The tide is still going out, if you can believe it.

I signed up for an all day kayak trip in the Marine Reserve for the next day.  I was told to show up at 8:15 and expect to be returned around 4:00-4:30.  What a fun day.  There were three of us solo traveling women along with a really lovely Mom, Dad, and two  young adult daughters, one of whom lives in Piha and knows Jacqui, the lady with whom I stayed and hiked. She was half of a delightful young couple and has a mushroom farm at her home and sells to a wholesaler who sells to restaurants and her partner is a boat builder who works on the Team New Zealand Campaign for the America’s Cup.  Coolio!

Back to the kayak trip…I was partnered with the very pleasant and mildly seasick Celine, from France.  Celine spoke and understood minimal English and was a bit on the deaf side, which kept things interesting especially as the seas began to build into the afternoon and communication was important.  Ha!

After gathering and getting outfitted, we were all piled into a boat attached to a tractor which drove us down the street and out into the sea where we were released to zip on up the coast to a cove where our kayaks were waiting.  The day went like this, cove, paddle out to sea and around a bluff and back into a cove, then out to sea, around a bluff and back into a cove, back out to sea, out to an island to check on the seal nursery, back to a cove with lunch on a protected swimming beach thrown in there somewhere.  It was lovely.

Take a look at the tractor depositing the folks in their boat behind us into the sea. Very interesting doings, for sure.  My brother Jimmy would be wide-eyed. 

The middle photo shows Lou, our guide, on the left and the parents of the young adults on the right with Celine in the middle.  We were all in very stable double kayaks except for Lou. We paddled up in here to have a look see at a waterfall beyond that footbridge.

The bottom photo shows our little group kayaking around a very shallow inlet/cove where we saw several Eagle Rays.  Look how clear that water is!

It was a fun day, even in the afternoon when the waves began to occasionally break entirely over the kayak.  In addition to the Eagle Rays, we saw from a distance Fur Seals and their pups and a little Blue Penguin bobbing on the water.  It was so tiny and looked just like a duck.  I’m hoping for a better gander at the Blue Penguins a bit later in the trip.

We all made it safely to our rendezvous point where the boat fetched us along with our kayaks and carted us back from whence we came and where the boat driver seamlessly steered us from ocean to tractor trailer hook up which was when the tractor driver took control and drove us out of the water and onto the street and proceeded to drive us around town in our boat dropping each of us off at our desired location.  Fun times at Abel Tasman!

Below you’ll see a photo of Lou sitting on our kayaks as we are leaving our beach pick up point.

The following day I did a day hike on the first leg of the Abel Tasman Coast Track, walking out from my campsite and catching a water taxi back to town several hours later. To follow are some scenes from that walk.

This is a good representation of the section of Track I walked. Lots of moss, fern, birds, and…..the impressive Goodman Gulch!

Goodman Gulch

This is the impressive Goodman Gulch.  A tiny water rivulet and it’s tiny pool.  The entire thing is about the size of an armchair. Ha!

One of the many views from the trail which wove through the forest, sometimes high on a cliff, sometimes down low at sea level.

Two young Weka, cousin to the Kiwi.  I remember when I first spotted a Weka.  I thought it was really quite something special.  And it was, just not uncommon as I soon found out, especially after one came up to my van in the campground looking for a handout.  Ha!

Looking down into the cove where I caught my water taxi back to town.

And finally, another Weka.  This gal or fella came right out of the bushes behind me while I sat waiting for my taxi.

I was to stay at Abel Tasman another day, but the rains returned and settled in, so I took myself off south and then over to the Wild West Coast which will be the topic of my next blog post, so stay tuned.



  • Pam

    January 16, 2023

    What a fun trip

    • Margie

      January 16, 2023

      Yes! It has been so much fun. Can’t believe I’m not even half way through yet!

  • Cassie

    January 16, 2023

    Incredible views, hikes and kayaking. Love the pics and stories! You are moving NZ higher up on my bucket list with each of your posts.

    • Margie

      January 16, 2023

      I hear you, Cassie. This place is one amazing view/experience after another. I can highly recommend! You could check out the Great Walks.

  • Nann

    January 17, 2023

    A friend from our Boston years is also exploring the South Island right now, but faster than you are as they have 11 year old twins at home with his wife. The pictures from the 2 of you have me *almost* considering taking on the plane ride to get there.

    • Margie

      January 17, 2023

      You could always break up the trip by stopping in Hawaii for awhile 😍 though it’s really far, I’m finding it totally worth the effort.

  • Tena

    January 28, 2023

    Another great adventure. Love those birds, and those little dolphins you had in the Lake Wanaka post were mentioned in Sara Johnson’s book. At least I think they are the ones she mentioned and , if so, they are pretty rare, right? No place else to see them but there.


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