The Abel Tasman National Park is one of the most idyllic places in New Zealand. The Tasman region gets a lot of sunny days, Nelson being the sunniest city in the country. The landscape is made of hills and lush native forest, covering the land up to the ocean, where the trees open up into beautiful beaches. The water has a shimmering green/turquoise color and the quiet bays are perfect for swimming.
Between Totaranui (and above) in the north and Marahau in the south, the Abel Tasman Coastal Track leads along these beaches and through the bush. It is the most popular of New Zealands Great Walks and takes two to four days, with dozens of DOC camping possibilities and huts on the way. It is said to be a very easy walk, mostly flat and relaxing.
We discovered the Abel Tasman from the water side: In five hours we paddled along the coast from Marahau to Adele Island and back. It was our first Kayak experience and we really loved it! Though at the beginning it needed quite some getting used to, because the waves seemed really high and we didn't want to capsize. Most of the coast is very sheltered though and the little islands ensure a quiet sea most of the time. The weather was beautiful and we got a little bit of carribean feeling, paddling from one beach to the next, surrounded by warm white sand and clear blue water.