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Coast Monitor, Day Journeys, Lodging

Abel Tasman Nationwide Park could also be New Zealand’s smallest Nationwide Park, but it surely’s probably the most gorgeous. It’s a well-liked vacation spot for mountain climbing, kayaking, and crusing.

The golden sand seashores and crystal clear turquoise water really feel nearly tropical, and the native bush is wealthy with lush vegetation and birdsong. Fur seals are sometimes seen, and when you get fortunate like us, you would possibly even see dolphins.

The Abel Tasman Coast Monitor is a 60km (37 mile) path that hugs the shoreline within the park and is considered one of New Zealand’s hottest and best Nice Walks.

The entire monitor takes 3–5 days to hike (or kayak) between Marahau and Totaranui. If you happen to don’t have the time or power for the total path, you’ll be able to simply expertise Abel Tasman on a day journey.

Water taxis run between the seashores, so it’s easy to hike a small part of the monitor. Simply select how far you’d wish to go and the water taxi will drop you off and decide you up on the different finish of your stroll.

If you happen to don’t need to hike, you can even kayak a piece or simply sail alongside the shoreline and benefit from the surroundings. There’s an possibility for all skills and pursuits.

Abel Tasman is considered one of our favorite locations in New Zealand. We’ve visited the park 5 occasions—three day journeys from Nelson and two three-night stays inside the park.

Most individuals don’t know there may be snug lodging inside Abel Tasman Nationwide Park—tenting isn’t required! This can be a fantastic solution to expertise the park. 

On this put up, I share particulars on the place to remain in Abel Tasman, the very best day walks (together with how one can keep away from the crowds), and how one can go to the park when you don’t need to stroll.


This put up was initially printed in March 2020 and final up to date in Could 2021 after our newest go to to Abel Tasman Nationwide Park. 

In case you are combining a visit to Abel Tasman with Nelson, try our video with the very best issues to do.

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What to Anticipate on the Abel Tasman Coast Monitor

Abel Tasman Coast Track through forest with sea views

The Abel Tasman Coast Monitor goes by native bush between seashores with occasional sea views

The Abel Tasman Monitor is well-marked so it could be tough to get misplaced and also you don’t must take a map. The strolling is pretty straightforward with some uphill sections however nothing too strenuous.

You don’t even want mountain climbing boots—mountain climbing sandals, strolling footwear, or trainers are high-quality. I’d keep away from flip-flops, although.

We discovered the DOC time estimates for sections of the walks to be overestimated. A one hour stroll normally took us 40 minutes. In case you are moderately match, you’ll in all probability discover the identical. The estimates do permit time for taking breaks on the seashores, although.

There are completely different routes in some sections relying on whether or not it’s low or excessive tide. The related campsites put up tide occasions and there are indicators to guide you the proper means. It’s also possible to see the tide tables on the DOC web site.

The most important challenge is strolling north from Awaroa to Totaranui as there’s no excessive tide different monitor—you will need to get the timings proper. Because of this, I’d keep away from this part in case you are simply doing at some point journey. 

At most seashores you’ll discover campsites with lengthy drop bathrooms accessible for day hikers. Some even have faucets, however the water isn’t assured to be protected to drink, so it’s finest to deliver sufficient water.

There’s nowhere to purchase meals (aside from the restaurant at Awaroa Lodge), so fill up earlier than you begin your hike. Take all garbage out of the park with you. 

The park is in style so don’t count on to have the seashores or path to your self in summer season (mid-December to March).

We’ve visited in November, December, January, and February, and January (faculty holidays) was the busiest time. North of Totaranui is quieter than the southern part of the park.

Walking on the beach at Anapai Bay on an Abel Tasman day trip

We had Anapai Bay, north of Totaranui, to ourselves in November

Though it may be chilly (however normally sunny) in winter, our kayaking information mentioned it’s a good time to go to because it’s so quiet and child seals could come and play alongside your kayak.

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Abel Tasman Lodging

Whereas it’s not crucial to remain in Abel Tasman Nationwide Park because it’s simply visited on day journeys from surrounding cities (see under), it’s a magical expertise when you can.

By staying in a single day the attractive seashores shall be in your doorstep, you’ll have easy accessibility to the coastal monitor, and the park is quieter after the day trippers have left. The park can be stunning at dawn and sundown.

Listed here are the three choices for lodging in Abel Tasman:

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Tenting on the Abel Tasman Coast Monitor

Most hikers on the Abel Tasman Coast Monitor both carry a tent and keep at one of many seashore campsites or keep in a bunk in one of many shared huts. Each require advance reserving on the DOC web site and in summer season value $42 for huts ($56 for worldwide guests) and $16 for campsites ($24 for worldwide guests).

If you happen to don’t need to hike to a campsite, you’ll be able to drive to Totaranui Campground within the northern part of the park. This can be a in style spot for locals in summer season. 

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Vacation Leases in Torrent Bay

Torrent Bay from above in Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand

Torrent Bay from a viewpoint on the coastal monitor

Tenting isn’t our factor, so we stayed at a bach (vacation dwelling) in Torrent Bay as an alternative.

Torrent Bay has a village really feel with the biggest assortment of privately owned houses within the park. The seashore is attractive—a large stretch of golden sand main into the inexperienced sea the place we noticed stingrays day by day.

On the opposite aspect of the village is the estuary which has excessive tidal adjustments—at excessive tide we kayaked right here and at low tide we walked throughout the sand to Anchorage.

Anchorage Beach in Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand

Anchorage Seaside, a 20-minute stroll from Torrent Bay at low tide

We had been a bit of apprehensive about staying right here—our bach was off the grid (with solar energy for lighting and the fridge however no wifi/cellphone sign) and you need to carry all of your meals with you. Entry is simply on foot or by boat and there are not any outlets within the park. You even have to hold out all of your garbage.

We quickly relaxed into the gradual tempo of life, although, and didn’t need to depart after three days. We kayaked, hiked, swam, and drank sundowners on the seashore.

It was principally quiet though some water skiers did spoil the peace. Exterior of faculty holidays and summer season weekends, I don’t suppose this might be an issue although.

We did two stunning hikes from Torrent Bay. One concerned getting the water taxi to Awaroa and strolling the coast monitor again south. This was 18km and 4.5 hours of strolling plus breaks.

The opposite was a loop to Anchorage—we walked there on the low tide monitor and again on the excessive tide monitor with a detour to Cleopatra’s Swimming pools. This was simply over 8km and took 2.5 hours.

Word that on arrival in Torrent Bay you might have to wade by knee-deep water from the water taxi. We had been glad we wore mountain climbing sandals so didn’t should take them off.

The place We Stayed in Torrent Bay

There aren’t many leases within the village. We stayed at this Torrent Bay vacation dwelling. It’s a typical Kiwi bach, which suggests decor is easy, and you need to do your personal cleansing earlier than you permit (we did lease linen and towels for an additional price). 

Whereas the home was extra dated than we’d like, the bathe was scorching and highly effective, kayaks had been included, and the situation was glorious—only a two minute stroll from the seashore down a sandy path. It’s set amongst bushes and we noticed wekas, keas, and fantails. The birdsong was beautiful however ruined barely however the subsequent door neighbour’s noisy generator (daytime solely).

In case you are searching for a base to discover the park and received’t spend a lot time inside, the home is nice worth and way more snug than tenting.

Take a look at the most recent costs and availability right here. 

Torrent Bay Lodge additionally has an amazing beachfront location right here, but it surely’s solely accessible to company on a multi-day hike with Wilsons. That is one thing we’d like to do sooner or later, but it surely’s dear. 

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Awaroa Lodge

The Awaroa inlet at low tide in Abel Tasman National Park

The Awaroa inlet at low tide

For extra luxurious and to keep away from the necessity to self-cater, keep additional north at Awaroa Lodge, which we did on our second keep within the park.

That is the one correct resort inside Abel Tasman. It has a spread of rooms, restaurant, pizzeria, and spa.

It’s positioned a five-minute stroll down a forest monitor from stunning Awaroa Seaside, which we needed to ourselves for essentially the most spectacular sunsets and sunrises. There’s a water sports activities centre with paddleboard rent and guided kayak journeys.

Awaroa Beach in Abel Tasman National Park

Awaroa Seaside

We did one hike right here taking the water taxi north to Totaranui and mountain climbing additional north to beautiful Anapai Seaside after which again to Awaroa. It was a protracted however stunning stroll with loads of seashore breaks on the best way.

Sadly, the one time we’ve acquired misplaced within the park was discovering our means from the Awaroa hut (after crossing the inlet) to the lodge. Don’t make the error we did and comply with the Coast Monitor uphill—simply head to the seashore and stroll alongside that again to the lodge.

Word that to hike north of Awaroa it’s important to time your crossing of the inlet for low tide and even then, you’ll get moist toes.

We stayed in a superior room at Awaroa Lodge which was beautiful. It neglected the wetlands and had loads of area with an enormous couch within the room and a chaise lounge, desk and chairs on the terrace. There was additionally a fridge, Nespresso machine, kettle, and air-con.

It wasn’t as completely quiet as I might have favored with generator noise and the sound of different company passing our room or drifting from the cafe.

The foremost draw back was the meals. As there are not any self-catering rooms, you’re compelled to eat at their restaurant within the night. It’s fairly costly and the meals is fancier than we needed after mountain climbing with restricted vegetarian choices.

We a lot most popular the backyard pizzeria (a well-liked spot for hikers), but it surely’s solely open for lunch and outdoors of excessive season, on weekends solely.

It’s not a deal breaker, although, and we might keep right here once more.

The lodge closes for winter from late April till late September.

Verify the most recent costs and availability for Awaroa Lodge right here.

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Visiting Abel Tasman Nationwide Park on a Day Journey

Abel Tasman Nationwide Park is positioned on the high of the South Island and there are a couple of cities that make good bases for day journeys into the park.

Marahau or Kaiteriteri

Marahau or Kaiteriteri are the closest locations to Abel Tasman Nationwide Park and are the place the water taxis depart from. You possibly can’t beat the comfort, however they’re tiny villages with restricted lodging that books up rapidly in summer season.

Marahau is positioned proper at the beginning of the monitor so it’s the best choice if you wish to keep away from taking a water taxi (though your mountain climbing choices are restricted with out utilizing one). 

Kaiteriteri is a bit of larger and it’s the place the bigger, extra snug water taxis depart from. You possibly can’t stroll the monitor from right here with out taking a ship. 

A couple of choices within the space are:

  • Kimi Ora Eco Resort – A couple of of our Kiwi buddies have stayed right here and adore it. It’s a 10-minute stroll from Kaiteriteri seashore and has gorgeous sea views, a pool, scorching tubs, spa, and vegetarian restaurant. You possibly can see glowworms on a nighttime bush stroll. Good for a calming keep. 
  • The Barn Backpackers – Personal cabins or dorms in an exquisite location proper at the beginning of the Abel Tasman stroll in Marahau.
  • Ocean View Chalets – A extra upmarket possibility with snug chalets solely 500 metres from the Nationwide Park in Marahau.
  • Kaiteriteri Reserve Cabins – Tiny however cute cabins with shared services on the seashore the place the water taxis depart in Kaiteriteri.


The closest city is Motueka, which is a 25-minute drive away and organised excursions can decide you up from right here. Seek for lodging in Motueka right here. 


Nelson is a well-liked base for visiting Abel Tasman and is an hour away. It’s a bigger metropolis (though nonetheless small) with loads of lodging, eating places, and actions (see our tips about the very best issues to do in Nelson).

It’s the very best base when you don’t have a automotive as you’ll be able to simply get to Nelson by aircraft or bus and the city is walkable.

Organised excursions to Abel Tasman will decide you up from Nelson. We did choices 2 and three under from Nelson.

Nelson has plenty of hostels, B&Bs, motels and vacation leases to select from. Seek for lodging in Nelson right here.


A extra uncommon base to go to Abel Tasman is Takaka or wherever in Golden Bay.

This isn’t essentially the most handy base if you wish to discover the southern sections of the park because it’s over an hour drive from Takaka to Marahau on a winding street over a hill.

It may be possibility for exploring the quieter northern part of the park from Totaranui. From Takaka you’ll be able to drive to Totaranui campsite in about 50 minutes and begin your hike from there. It’s a bumpy drive, although, because the final part is on a winding gravel street.

We stayed a 10-minute drive exterior Takaka in a luxurious beachfront cottage at Adrift in Golden Bay. The situation on an empty seashore was fantastic, and the cottages are snug and well-equipped with a breakfast basket supplied in your room. This was our base for possibility 1 under. 

Terrace of our beachfront cottage at Adrift in Golden Bay

Terrace of our beachfront cottage at Adrift in Golden Bay

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1) Hike the Quiet Northern Part of Abel Tasman from Totaranui

Anapai Bay, a quiet beach on the Abel Tasman Coast Track

You’ll discover stunning and peaceable Anapai Bay a 40-minute stroll north of Totaranui

Our first Abel Tasman day journey was to the northern a part of the park. If you wish to escape the crowds on the Abel Tasman Coast Monitor, particularly in case you are visiting throughout the faculty summer season holidays (Christmas to early February), I extremely advocate this hike.

Nearly all multi-day trampers end their stroll at Totaranui, the final seashore served by water taxis. So when you hike north from Totaranui you’ll be able to keep away from most hikers and have the attractive seashores to yourselves. I feel it’s the very best a part of the Abel Tasman monitor, though not essentially the most handy. 

We first visited this part of the park whereas staying at Adrift in Golden Bay close to Takaka. The drive to Totaranui campsite took us one hour and the final 20 minutes was fairly tiring because the street turns to gravel and is slender and winding.

If you happen to don’t need to drive there, you’ll be able to take the water taxi from Marahau or Kaiteriteri to Totaranui. That is one of the best ways to go to when you’re coming from the south (Nelson or Motueka). It’s simpler than driving and the boat trip is scenic.

It’s a reasonably lengthy journey, although. The water taxi from Kaiteriteri to Totaranui takes two hours, so that you’ll must get the 9am (with Abel Tasman Sea Shuttles) or 9.20am (with Wilsons) departure to permit time for mountain climbing.

The final boat again from Totaranui is at 2.40pm with Wilsons or 4pm with Abel Tasman Sea Shuttles. Timetables are diminished in off-season. Water taxis value about NZ $50 every means and have to be booked upfront.

At Totaranui there’s a big campsite, bathrooms, and maps displaying the hikes within the space however no store, so come ready.

Totaranui Beach from Skinner Point south on the Abel Tasman Coast Track

Totaranui Seaside from Skinner Level south on the Abel Tasman Coast Monitor

Totaranui itself is a stunning 1km lengthy golden seashore, however you’ll discover much more stunning seashores when you stroll north in the direction of Separation Level.

On the very least, I like to recommend following the coast monitor north to Anapai Bay, our second favorite seashore within the park. The DOC estimate for this stroll is one hour every means, but it surely solely took us 40 minutes.

The path takes you thru lush forest over a hill and all the way down to the stunning curve of golden sand at Anapai Bay with granite outcrops at every finish.

In November we had the seashore to ourselves as we ate our packed lunch. Even once we returned right here in February (whereas staying at Awaroa Lodge), it was very quiet.  

Anapai Bay in Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand

Anapai Bay

From right here the path continues up and over the headland, by native bush with occasional sea views, to Mutton Cove. The estimate from Anapai Bay to Mutton Cove is one hour however once more it took us 40 minutes.

View of Anapai Bay from Abel Tasman Coast Track, New Zealand

View of Anapai Bay from the coast monitor

Mutton Cove is much more stunning than Anapai Bay and is my favorite seashore in Abel Tasman.

The vast stretch of golden sand results in emerald water with rocky headlands at every finish. On the far finish of the seashore you’ll be able to scramble over some rocks to achieve the second part of the seashore (and proceed on the path).

This could be a stunning place to camp (20 tents allowed and bookings required).

Mutton Cove is a great day walk on the Abel Tasman coast track

Mutton Cove

Mutton Cove, one of the quietest beaches in Abel Tasman National Park

Mutton Cove

After enjoyable on the seashore for some time we determined to not proceed on to Separation Level however returned to Totaranui again the best way we got here.

Our Abel Tasman day stroll from Totaranui to the far finish of Mutton Cove and again was 14km (8.7 miles) and took us 4 hours together with loads of breaks (3 hours quarter-hour of strolling). The whole elevation achieve was 433 metres (1420 ft), however this was made up of smaller hills with nothing too difficult.

If you’d like an extended stroll you possibly can proceed on to Whariwharangi Bay and return to Totaranui by way of the inland route over Gibbs Hill (a a lot steeper and extra uncovered route).

One other fascinating however lengthy (23km/14 mile) possibility in case you are beginning in Golden Bay that might keep away from the drive to Totaranui is to begin at Wainui Bay automotive park (a 30-minute drive from Takaka). From right here you’ll be able to hike to Whariwharangi Bay and proceed to Mutton Cove, Anapai and Totaranui. Return on the coast monitor or over Gibbs Hill. 

Map of the north section of Abel Tasman National Park around Totaranui

Map of the north part of Abel Tasman Nationwide Park round Totaranui

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2) Hike and Kayak Day Journey from Tonga Quarry to Anchorage

For our second journey to the park, we did an Abel Tasman Cruise, Self-Guided Stroll and Kayak Expertise with Kaiteriteri Kayaks (NZ $215). 

This is a wonderful possibility when you solely have at some point in Abel Tasman Nationwide Park as you’ll be able to mix a ship journey, mountain climbing, and kayaking.

We had been collected in Nelson at 7am (the shuttle bus is free) and drove to Kaiteriteri. We met our kayaking information for a briefing (we’d meet up with him once more later) and acquired the 9am Abel Tasman Sea Shuttles water taxi.

The boat was fairly giant with a rest room and small kiosk onboard. The journey was scenic as we headed north alongside the coast into the park. Alongside the best way we heard commentary in regards to the space and took detours to Cut up Apple Rock and Adele Island, the place we noticed a couple of fur seals lazing on the rocks.

We disembarked at Tonga Quarry for the self-guided mountain climbing part of the journey. We had two hours to get to Bark Bay, so we first took a detour north to stunning Onetahuti Seaside, a 15-minute stroll away.

Onetahuti Beach from the Abel Tasman Track on a day trip

Onetahuti Seaside from the path

From Onetahuti to Bark Bay is 4km (2.5 miles) and the estimated time is 1 hour 45 minutes, but it surely took us 1 hour quarter-hour.

It was a stunning stroll by native bush previous a couple of little waterfalls, over a suspension bridge, and ending with good views of Bark Bay lagoon from above. There are some pretty large hills however nothing too intense.

Bark Bay is an exquisite lengthy seashore with a tidal estuary on the opposite aspect of the sand. There’s a big campsite right here and it was the busiest seashore we’d visited thus far.

Bark Bay beach and estuary in Abel Tasman National Park from above

Bark Bay from above on the stroll from Onetahuti

On the seashore we met up with our kayak information, Pandi from India, and two different Brits on our tour for the supplied picnic lunch (sandwich, cake, fruit, cookies, a scorching drink, and juice).

Then it was time for the kayaking portion of the day. Pandi gave us some kayaking ideas and acquired us arrange with spray skirts which saved us surprisingly dry. The double kayaks have rudders and are pretty straightforward to manage (the individual within the again steers with foot pedals).

Kayaks at Bark Bay in Abel Tasman National Park

We set off down the coast in the direction of Anchorage. We loved getting a distinct perspective of the park, seeing the golden seashores and luxurious inexperienced hills from a distance and gliding over the clear emerald water.

Alongside the best way we noticed cormorants and seals and handed some stunning bays. Sandfly Bay regarded peaceable and we made a notice to return at some point (regardless of the identify, it has no extra sandflies than wherever else).

Torrent Bay is dwelling to many off-the-grid vacation houses with no street entry—kayaking previous right here was our inspiration to return to remain in a single (see above). 

Kayaking past Sandfly Bay in Abel Tasman National Park

Kayaking previous Sandfly Bay

Kayaking to Torrent Bay in Abel Tasman National Park

Kayaking in Torrent Bay

We even acquired our kayaks collectively, raised a canvas sheet and had a go at kayak crusing.

Our kayak journey ended at Anchorage, a big seashore that’s in style with walkers and yachties. It was the busiest seashore we visited in Abel Tasman however with loads of area for everybody.

After enjoyable on the seashore for some time, we took the three.45pm water taxi again to Kaiteriteri. On the best way we had been fortunate to see a big pod of dolphins who swam alongside our boat. They’re a uncommon sight in Abel Tasman and it was the proper solution to finish the day.

Dolphins in Abel Tasman National Park

We noticed dolphins on our water taxi trip again to Kaiteriteri!

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3) Sail Abel Tasman Nationwide Park

Split Apple Rock near Abel Tasman National Park

Most Abel Tasman boat journeys move the distinctive Cut up Apple Rock

If you happen to’re not feeling energetic, you’ll be able to nonetheless take pleasure in Abel Tasman Nationwide Park by taking a ship journey.

On our third Abel Tasman day journey, we rented a crusing catamaran with a bunch of buddies from Abel Tasman Crusing Adventures.

We relaxed, drank and ate on the boat as we loved the views of the shoreline. We anchored off Te Pukatea, an ideal crescent of sand close to Anchorage, the place we standup paddleboarded and swam to shore.

This can be a enjoyable possibility you probably have a bunch and are extra curious about enjoyable than mountain climbing.

If you happen to aren’t with a bunch, they run scheduled Abel Tasman crusing day excursions that people and {couples} can be part of. 

It’s also possible to discover the park by taking a water taxi to one of many seashores. There you’ll be able to chill out or do a brief stroll earlier than being picked up by the water taxi later within the day.

There are such a lot of choices. From Kaiteriteri or Marahau one of many closest choices is to get the water taxi to Anchorage the place there’s a big seashore. It’s also possible to stroll from right here to beautiful Te Pukatea Bay in about 20 minutes.

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Abel Tasman Nationwide Park Map

It’s also possible to obtain an in depth Abel Tasman strolling map from the DOC web site. 

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Abel Tasman is fantastic whether or not you go to on a day journey, keep in a single day, or hike the entire monitor.

There are such a lot of choices for all health ranges and pursuits. I hope I’ve given you some concepts above however you can even take a water taxi to any of the seashores, stroll a piece of the monitor, after which get picked up by the water taxi on the finish.

Though it’s doable to go to on a half-day journey, I extremely advocate giving Abel Tasman not less than one full day because it’s such an exquisite place and also you’ll need time to linger on these seashores. Even after 5 journeys to the park, we nonetheless can’t wait to return.

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Extra New Zealand Suggestions

One other attractive coastal monitor on the highest of the South Island is the Queen Charlotte Monitor by the Marlborough Sounds.

The seashores are pebbly relatively than sandy, however the water is simply as clear and the hills lush and inexperienced. The views are much more gorgeous, it’s not as busy, and there are extra lodges alongside the best way.

The entire path takes 3–5 days, however you are able to do day hikes from Picton. See my Queen Charlotte Monitor information for all the small print.

Not removed from Marlborough Sounds is the Marlborough wine area which is legendary for its Sauvignon Blanc. We spent a calming few days right here staying in an enthralling B&B, biking to the wineries, and consuming scrumptious meals. Our Marlborough wineries journey information has loads of tips about one of the best ways to discover.

Our Nelson journey information has heaps extra ideas for exploring the highest of the South Island.

In case you are heading additional south, see our information to the very best issues to do in Queenstown and Wanaka actions.

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How to visit Abel Tasman National Park in New Zealand! | abel tasman national park day hike, abel tasman national park kayak, abel tasman national park walks, abel tasman national park beaches

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