"I wanna hang a map of the world at my house. Then I wanna stick pins in the locations that I`ve traveled to.
...But first I have to travel to the top two corners of the map so it won`t fall down."
-Mitch Hedberg

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Kayaking the Abel Tasman National Park

After three brutal days picking apples, Care and I decided it was time for a well earned vacation, so we headed north to Marahau, the gateway to New Zealand’s most popular national park – Abel Tasman.

Trips in the Tasman usually vary between one and seven days, though most people spend just one or two days hiking, kayaking, or just cruising on a water taxi. We opted for a four-day combo adventure – kayaking north and then hiking back south. FYI, campsites have to be booked ahead of time, and reservations for heaps of different kayak companies can be made for free at the Nelson or Motueka i-sites. We chose Kahu Kayaks because they were the cheapest, and they turned out to be a really awesome, friendly company too.

A bunch of factors such as wind direction, weather, water taxi schedules, and most importantly the high tide charts should play a part when planning your itinerary. We had to decide which was the better option – kayaking north against the wind and then hiking back south, or taking a water taxi up and kayaking south. So after thinking about it for like five minutes, we chose to kayak first…cuz we felt like it.

We ran into a few bits of chop and wind, but all in all the two days kayaking were amazing. We explored Fisherman’s and Adele Islands – homes to seals and penguins – and had lunch on a secluded golden sand beach that can only be reached from the water. We shot some “rapids” (which just means we got a little too close to the rocks) and splashed around for a while. Our first night’s stay in Anchorage Bay was a bit sandfly-infested, but the great facilities made it a worthy stop.

Our second day in the kayak was a lot more steady (Carolyn steered). I heard a rumor that she’s used to spending time in a boat, but I can’t remember where…

We lucked out with a little blue penguin sighting early in the morning – apparently they’re really shy and spend most of their time way out in the ocean fishing, so we were really excited to see one float past us in the bay. In the afternoon after a solid paddle north, we passed “Foul Point” where we tried not to capsize so we could investigate a lesser known seal colony at the northern edge of the Park. Our efforts were rewarded when a few of the males danced in the water for us and played hide and seek under our kayak. We also spotted some 4-month old baby seals on the rocks, but Care was disappointed that she couldn't convince them to jump into the kayak and ride home with us.

Day two ended with another secluded beach picnic and a mellow paddle into Onetahuti Bay Camp. There Kahu Kayaks picked up our kayaks and garbage and dropped off our backpacks, all at no extra charge, letting us prepare for our two day hike back to the start of the trail.

But more on that adventure next time…

"Seal Sighting" - a comic by Shawn Forno

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by Shawn Forno
The Abel Tasman National Park – New Zealand’s smallest national park – is by far the busiest, with a wide array of one to five day hiking, camping, and even kayaking options available for the casual to committed tramper. The largest and most popular campsite...read more


  1. You needed a vacation? I'm confused as to what this whole trip is...

  2. Yeah Joan...life on the road is tough.

    You can only nap like half the time.

  3. That sounds rad..can I get a hellz yeah?

  4. Colt loved the picture of the seal. I quote the little man "I like seals."