South island tour: Abel Tasman – Kaikoura

For our stop at Abel Tasman national park we stayed in the small town of Kaiteriteri. Just a short strip of accommodation and shops along a beautiful beach.

Kaiteriteri  Kaiteriteri beach
Kaiteriteri – proudly displaying their inclusion in  Guardian Travel top 5 along the seafront.

The park is accessible by water taxi from here but we drove up the winding roads to the next township of Motueka to hire kayaks. There are various different guided tours you can take from half a day to 4 days but we decided to brave it alone for a half day around the park’s azure waters.

After a thorough safety briefing we were let loose and paddled off to a small island in the distance called Adele. It was really hard work on our arms so we took regular breaks to take in the scenery. Rob probably did two thirds of the paddling. As we paddled around the island we caught sight of seals on the rocks and a small grey penguin in the water. It was a brilliant way to see the area but we were exhausted after 4 hours of paddling! We had a short and pretty aimless wander around before picking up our kayaks but would have liked to take a proper trek if we’d had longer there.

Abel Tasman (18) Abel Tasman (16) Abel Tasman (12)

On our way back we picked up a pair of female hitchers who happened to be part of the Kiwi Experience cohort staying in the same lodge as us. They had broken away from the restrictions of the group to take a long walk in the park.

From Kaiterteri we headed north to Golden Bay and Farewell Spit at the very top of the south island. We stopped in a quaint little town of Collingwood for brunch and then took a (longer than intended) walk along the beach and through a farm, where we saw a group of sheep clamouring for shade. After this detour, we were on our way to Nelson.

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In the first of a few Air bnb bookings, we stayed 2 nights with a Dutch family in their separate studio. The houses are built into the hillsides around the town. As with the other small NZ cities we’ve visited, Nelson was didn’t really blow us away. The choice of restaurants was lacking and the centre was deathly quiet at night. Our favourite place was the Lambretta cafe, which did a mean brunch. There is also a great beach, Tahunanui, just outside the centre of Nelson where the sea is lovely & warm.

Nelson is also only a short drive from the wine region of Marlborough, where we stayed on a vineyard and spent a glorious day cycling around the wineries. More on that here. On reflection we wish we’d spent longer here rather than Nelson as there’s also great walks and boat trips around the Marlborough sounds.

But we needed to push on and return our hire car to Picton this morning. Picton is a small harbour town, which mostly serves as the dock for the ferry to Wellington. Our crossing is not until Sunday, so we spent a few hours playing mini golf and in the cafes before boarding the bus to Kaikoura where whale watching is the plan. The driver made a short stop just before Kaikoura to let us see a sea colony splashing about on the rocks.

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2 thoughts on “South island tour: Abel Tasman – Kaikoura

  1. Pingback: 6 months away: lists of sixs | Year in NZ

  2. Pingback: Ten favourite photos | Year in NZ

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