Abel Tasman National Park – Natural Environment
The “scenery of distinctive quality” which helped gain the region National Park status includes regenerating native forests of mainly native beech with kanuka and manuka scattered within, estuaries rich with marine life and birds, and beaches with unique ‘golden’ sand – the colour and sparkle due to the high quartz content. The breath-taking canyons, rock features and cliffs found in the region are often granite.
Native birds make their home in the bush – look out for bellbird, tui and fantails. Recent conservation efforts to remove pests, like stoats, rats and possums, and weeds and unwanted plants like wilding pines, has helped to accelerate the regeneration of native bush and grow populations of native birds. There are several seal colonies along the Park’s coast, and dolphins and sometimes Orca can be often be seen offshore. There are many offshore islands and some of these can be explored. These islands however are precious ecosystems with endangered native plants and animals not always found on the mainland. Special care must be taken when visiting these islands and there are no camping or toilet facilities.
The Park has always been a popular spot with visitors from New Zealand and overseas. The sheltered coastlines make for a safe spot for water sports, such as sea kayaking, sailing and paddle boarding, or try snorkelling or diving at the Tonga Island Marine Reserve. The Abel Tasman Coastal Track, one of New Zealand’s nine Great Walks, is also found in the Park. At 60km long, it is a multi-day tramp, but with water taxis operating along the Coast, it is also the ideal route for a short walk or half-day hike.
Download the free Abel Tasman App for the latest information on weather and tides, as well as plenty of other information for getting the most out of the Park. It works offline or there are solar-powered wi-fi hotspots in the park to download the app.