Of all of the remarkable places to visit on the South Island of New Zealand, I found the most incredible to be Abel Tasman National Park. My partner and I felt unbelievably lucky to be able to step into such a glorious part of the world. Located in the north of the South Island, this wonderland offers astounding seemingly untouched beaches, clear ocean water, walking trails consumed by rainforest, and islands that house rare birds and seals.
We traveled to the entrance of the national park via bus and arrived at Abel Tasman Centre where we were able to rent a nice cabin for the weekend. The park offered many sightseeing attractions, but we chose to rent kayaks and go exploring ourselves. This was definitely a great choice, because it allowed us to have a romantic getaway, and we were able to experience the park in a way that a tour group could not.
We set off at around 8 a.m. and began to leisurely kayak out into the ocean in our two-man boat. It was so sunny that we could hardly spot a cloud in the sky. Along our left side, we could view bounding hills of rainforest, vast beaches, and tall cliffs. To our right, we could see a great span of ocean. Finally, in front of us, were two gorgeous islands. The islands were uninhabited by people and were left to the natural beauty of the local plants and animals.
After kayaking for about an hour, my partner and I found a spot on a secluded sandy beach to stop and have lunch. The beach spanned about 100 meters, and we had it all to ourselves for the vast majority of our luncheon.
Later, we hopped back into our kayak and began to row for the islands. Upon first look, the big island (Adele) seemed uninhabited by any larger animals. However, at a closer look, we were able to see around twenty seals, including pups. It was like viewing something out of national geographic! The mother seals were often found on the rocks around the cliffs, tending to their young and swimming around for food. You could view them at such an intimate distance, that sometimes the seals nearly touched the kayaks. It was as if they were trying to show off in front of a crowd.
As we ventured further around the big island, we experienced the sweet sounds of many of the local birds. It felt as if we had entered a menagerie. It was truly fascinating, and we fell silent to listen to their sweet tunes.
Eventually, we drew nearer to the small island and experienced the breathtaking views of the unique shapes of the cliffs. It was a truly peaceful and awe striking way to spend a day, and I will not soon forget the natural beauty of Abel Tasman.