‘The Green Rush’ is a visitor slogan applied to the Nelson region to emphasise its pristine beauty, sun, sand, sea and lush green forest.
Visiting the region is a natural experience that gets you close to nature in a relaxed and completely satisfying way – a real green rush in complete harmony with bush and beach.
Nowhere in the Nelson region epitomises this better than New Zealand’s smallest and most popular national park. Abel Tasman National Park is a tramping, sea kayaking and boating mecca without parallel. A piece of paradise in the southern ocean that feels distinctly tropical with its limpid emerald waters, golden sands, tiny islands, lagoons, crescent-shaped coves and abundant marine life, under bright blue skies. The golden sands are quite remarkable. Quartz and marble have eroded down to dazzling honey-hued crystals that sparkle in the sunlight.
The Coastal Track can be walked in 3 or 4 days in either direction as a guided or a freedom tramp, staying in pre-booked Department of Conservation huts, campsites or in private lodges. There is also the option of experiencing the rugged granite coastline by cruise launch, water taxi or sea kayak. One or more days can be devoted to walking combined with a boat cruise to give total planning flexibility – the best of both worlds.
The main bases for arranging excursions around the coast are Motueka, Kaiteriteri and Marahau in the south and Totaranui in the north. Day tramps from each entrance are popular. Thus Marahau to Torrent Bay gives a good appreciation of the park. Totaranui to Anapai Bay, an idyllic beach framed by unusual granite formations and backed by huge tree ferns and nikau palms, is an easy stroll to enjoy perfect bliss on a clear day.
Kayaking to Tonga Island to see the seal colony is a notable highlight. These playful creatures gambol in the sea, chase kayaks and do amazing aerobatics just for sheer fun. As you float along on a turquoise sea of tranquillity, seabirds wheel overhead, penguins pop their heads up to say ‘Howdy’ and sometimes dolphins circle round and give kayakers a curious look that says, ‘Hey! We’re mammals too.’
Demand for overnight stays is high in summer and booking is essential. In winter a grey sky hangs over a tranquil sea and all is still and silent. The unspoiled beauty of this place is inspirational and good for the soul. The 150,000 day trippers and multi-day visitors each year can’t all be wrong. Abel Tasman is a very special place – a year round ‘Green Rush.’