The end of our first week in the land of the long white cloud (and the flat white coffee) and expectations were high in the fun bus. On Saturday we were scheduled to visit Abel Tasman national park, voted the number 1 thing to do in New Zealand by the New Zealand people themselves. So no pressure then. However what we failed to realise as we left the campsite and headed up there was that the only way into the park is by boat. We thought we could just park up, have a little walk with the wee girl and take some photo’s, oh no, bookings were required. Thankfully being early season this was easily solved and we could catch a 12.30pm boat.
We headed for the car park and prepared a packed lunch as instructed (no boarding without one) and covered ourselves in insect repellent. As an aside have you ever seen James Bond having to do that? Does he have natural bug repelling skin or something? Anyway, back to the story. We set off on the boat (which also happened to be Matilda’s first boat ride, we’re ticking off the firsts on this trip) and sat mesmerised by the colour of the sea and the many different coves and beaches en route. Quite honestly this was not the coast line I was expecting from New Zealand. You could easily mistake it for somewhere in the much hotter and more exotic. It was breathtaking and the trip had only just started.
Our friendly boat (Pilot? Driver? Chauffeur? Captain? Chap?) dropped us off at Armitage bay, you can see for yourselves that this could be some sort of deserted island, in fact I think we could quite happily live our lives there. We dragged ourselves away from this beautiful beach and did a short walk of about 3 miles up to a look out point and back around again in a loop. Nothing too strenuous but good to get the blood flowing and probably far enough when you’re carrying a budha baby. Matilda amused herself chewing her fingers and blowing raspberries at me, completely oblivious to the scenery around her.
Then with an hour to spare before the return boat home we sat on the beach to eat some snacks and let Matilda have a play, turns out she quite likes the sand. God help us when she can crawl or run, I think it could get quite tiring visiting the beach. It was amazing seeing the excitement in her face as she felt the sand in her toes and fingers. We had to work hard to stop her eating it though.
We only did a very short walk in one park of the park, but you can do a 3-5 day walk along the full length which would be simply amazing. Or if you prefer you can sea kayak along the coast. There are campsites and huts run by the national park dotted along the coast to stay in. I’d love to come back when we have older children and have a go at that. If the small piece of coast we saw is anything to go by it would be well worth it and one hell of an adventure.