Kayak and Hiking in Abel Tasman National Park
The birds were deafening as we kayaked up to the little island in Abel Tasman National Park. Seals played by the rocks and the birds sang their hearts out. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a nature spot quite so profound in natural volume.
As it was Easter I did my usual this year and travelled somewhere I’d never been, to Nelson, at the top of the South Island of New Zealand. Nelson is just a hop skip and jump (or a one hour drive) to Abel Tasman National Park, where I spent my first full day doing a kayak and walk trip.
Bright and early we were paired up in kayaks, I was with another solo traveller – Ana from Argentina, who had never kayaked before and really shouldn’t have been given the job to use pedals to steer our kayak. In a group of about 8 foreigners, I was the only Kiwi, but it was a day for scenery not for chatting too much!
Sadly our boat lagged behind due to what I think was confusion in steering, so we often missed the start of explanations about the National Park that our guide provided. However, it was a great workout, and stunning scenery from one bay to the next.
Our final big push was out to an island I’ll call ‘Bird Island’ because it was just incredible the amount of birds living there. It really shows what great work people are doing to improve our levels of native wildlife when you hear such an array of birds singing out all the way around the island. The seals didn’t seem too concerned of the noise, they played around the rocks and bobbed up and down around our kayaks. The water was clean and blue, the sun was shinning and it was a stunning day once the clouds burned off.
Turns out I was the only one in the group that had booked to hike back after lunch, so I had a nice 3-4 hour hike back all alone in my thoughts. This worked out well for me though, because I hadn’t been able to take photos from the kayak, I could take photos all the way back because the hike was all along the coast. Stunning bay after stunning bay, plenty of native trees and plants, the odd waterfall and incredible viewpoints.
Had I not been busting to use the bathroom, I’d have loved to stop at some of these beaches on the way back!
Abel Tasman National Park was an incredible spot and one I’d love to return to and spend a bit more time in. There are plenty of incredible walks all around the region and it’s got to be one of the sunniest spot in New Zealand I think!
Doing the kayak and seeing so many paddle boarders may me realise that if I’m staying in NZ I’m definitely going to have to invest in one or both items to make the most of summer months here!