The Abel Tasman National Park
After our stay in Nelson, which was longer than we had intended, we made our way to our next golf course located in Takaka. Here we wanted to play a round of golf, stay one night, and plan how we could best get to the Abel Tasman National Park. A UNESCO site, our next stop.
Tip: There are two ways to get to Abel Tasman National Park. One from Motueka, where you can go by water taxi to the various bays. And one by land. Namely from Takaka.
Our entertaining ride took us through the beautiful landscapes of New Zealand to Takaka, where we played a round of golf at the Takaka Golf Club.
During our trip we’ve developed a little tradition: after golf, we make ourselves comfortable in our camper or in the clubhouse, relax, eat something or drink a coffee, sometimes tea, and talk about our game.
After we had eaten something little at the clubhouse, we went back to our camper when we noticed a young man. Curiously, he eyed our Lorna from a safe distance. When he saw us, he said that he lives in Takaka.
He had arrived on an e-bike, which was painted in various shades of purple. His jeans also had several purple patches. We talked for a while and watched his stories. Exactly, we watched. Because when he talked, his whole body swung and waved around, and he had very animated arm movements.
He pointed to the green mountain behind us to show us where he lives. In all the green, there was just one spot that looked different where he said that he had planted flowers. And maybe you have already guessed what was different… the flowers were all purple! Our Lorna, also painted purple, must have created quite an incredible attraction for him. I invited him to take a closer look at the camper and his eyes sparkled!
As he said his goodbye, I had to bite my lips from saying “Peace, Man!”
Abel Tasman and the Sand Flies
In addition to this unforgettable acquaintance, we met Dave, the golf course greenskeeper.
He recommended taking the land route to get to the Abel Tasman National Park.
To be more precise, he told us to go to Totaranui because there are fewer tourists. We were very happy about this tip and set off immediately.
The ride there was quite adventurous as the roads were narrow and unpaved. We already have had some nerve-wracking roads behind us during our time in New Zealand. Mostly because I’m afraid of heights, and the side of the road goes straight down. Drives up and down were not uncommon. But as Dave reminded us with a smile: “Well, these are New Zealand’s streets!”
With the slopes seemingly directly underneath, it wasn’t always thrilling. It scared us both to death!
The Anticipation Wins
The Abel Tasman Drive really shows its curves after Tata Beach and left us both silent. But the anticipation of Abel Tasman National Park was greater than the fear of falling. And when we finally arrived at the campground, we were rewarded immediately. A beautiful golden bay with very few tourists. The sun laughed and cheered and warmed us up. We found a grassy area to park Lorna, threw off our shoes and put on our flip-flops (called Jandals in New Zealand), and went straight to the beach.
We walked the full length of the bay, took countless photos, and then made ourselves comfortable at the beach. We missed it so much! Because of the never-ending rain we have had, we were starved for the sun and couldn’t believe our luck that we finally had great weather at the Abel Tasman National Park! For the rest of the day we enjoyed being lazy and basically did nothing but lie in the sun and snooze at the beach.
Later in the evening, the evil awakening came! My feet, along with a few spots on my body and hands were completely bitten! It itched and hurt like crazy, and I got to know sand flies in a very painful way.
Help against sand fly bites
Even though I used the word “bite” above, sand flies don’t sting or bite, they scratch the skin open. But only the females.
I would have liked to have spared myself this experience, but now I knew (and for the next few months) how sand flies bites feel.
Tip: 100% pure lavender oil relieves the pain and helps with sand fly bites. I, unfortunately, didn’t learn this until almost two months later, but as the itching and pain persisted, I was glad to have found this natural remedy. Another tip, even if it’s hard: Try not to scratch, that only makes it worse!
The Curious Wekas
But we experienced more in the Abel Tasman National Park. In the evening we saw our first. It was a bird that we hadn’t ever seen before! A Weka! Wekas are curious birds and come very close to you without shyness. We were amazed, thinking that this was something sooo rare! We enthusiastically peeked out of the camper and saw that the Weka was as interested in us as we were in him. He walked up to our camper and almost got in, probably looking for food. In the course of our South Island Tour, we would make even more of these Weka acquaintances.
I’m just taking a walk
Even though we only spent one night in the Abel Tasman National Park, we enjoyed our time there to the fullest. I had met sand flies, we had observed Wekas in action, and we were of course intoxicated by the beautiful bay and the view of the sea.
The weather forecast did not bode well, and we wanted to drive the winding roads back before the weather turned, so we set off early.
And of course, after a short drive, it started pouring down rain. We drove on carefully, and out of nowhere, we saw an elderly man, armed only with his umbrella, walking down the streets of the mountain. We stopped and asked if we could help. His reply was that of a typical Kiwi: “I’m good. I’m just taking a walk.”
The Abel Tasman National Park is definitely one of the things you must do while in New Zealand. Even though we didn’t take a water taxi or didn’t do a hike, the bay really knocked us over. After so much rain, the beach with the blue sky was a gift. And if you’re going there and want to see more, you can also take a water taxi to the other bays directly from this beach. Which allows you to discover even more of the beauty of the Abel Tasman National Park.