Abel Tasman – my FAVORITE place! Tasman Bay and Golden Bay TOPPED the charts on South Island. Maybe it was the joy of seeing new things after lockdown and/or the luxury of additional time. The experience was perfection.
In May (autumn) we stayed 10 days in Kaiteriteri, south of Abel Tasman Park. No tramping on the Great Walk, but daily hikes and car trips with every turn a surprise.
Kaiteriteri & Split Apple Rock
Our house provided stupendous views of the valley and Tasman bay. Nearby trails were so pretty one couldn’t stop walking.
A short walk to Split Apple Rock Beach where tiny caves were works of art.
The Kaiteriteri Track – a short hike over a hill to the sea.
Kohi Track – A secret bush walk behind our house.
Takaka Hill Walkway
Takaka Hill Road is the mountain pass between Tasman Bay and Golden Bay. “The Hill” (257 corners) is winding, precipitous and stunning.
At the top of the pass is Takaka Hill Walkway, a 5.1k trail through scrub, karst landscape and beech forest. Payoff: Views of Kahurangi National Park and Takaka Valley.
Harwoods Hole – LOTR (Lord of the Rings) Film Scene
A forest walk like no other. A deep moss-draped forest – eerie through dense beech trees, mostly flat with beautiful mossy boulders to crawl over and through. Filled with bird songs and you swear hobbits will appear.
Several LOTR scenes were filmed in the caves at the bottom of a huge hole, 357 metres deep (600 feet). NZ’s deepest vertical shaft accessible only to cavers who abseil (rope down). There is no “peeking over the edge” into the giant sinkhole…but very possible to slip and tumble.
Directions: From Nelson, follow State Highway 60 to the top of Takaka Hill. Turn right onto Canaan Road, just past the Ngarua Cave turnoff. Canaan Road is unsealed, windy and narrow to the Canaan Downs car park.
A Surprise at Every Turn
Alpacas and Scottish Longhorn cattle – Canaan Downs Road
Over “the hill” is Golden Bay
At the top of the South Island, Golden Bay is diverse landscape close to the sea – golden beaches, valleys, rivers, endless hills that like a magnet drew me back. We returned in December, 2020 to stay two weeks in Pohara, a small beach community – access to Abel Tasman. (See link* below)
Things We Missed
- Stay in Pohara/Golden Bay (Lucky us! We returned in December *)
- Takaka *
- Use Aqua Taxi or Sea Shuttle (3-day passport) for Abel Tasman Great Coastal Walk
- Wainui Falls *
- Mussel Inn lunch *
- Pupu Springs *
- Day Hikes – Able Tasman *
- Heaphy Track – Kahurangi National Park
See 3 more Tasman links:
- *Golden Bay: Pohara
- Cape Farewell – Wharariki Beach (Wharariki Beach – used as MS Windows 10 Image)
- Tasman – Abel Tasman and The Great Walk
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