It's free to sink our toes into the golden sand of Kaiteriteri, the eastern edge of Abel Tasman, a stunning national park with a 32-mile coast walking track. It remains an affordable day when you pack your lunch and your only expense is a water taxi.
The golden beaches are home to water taxis and kayaks, enabling you to explore the pristine coastline. A quick taxi to Apple Tree Bay is 30-min. (and has a toilet on shore). From there, you can hike part of the Abel Tasman trail to an almost private Stilwell bay. Split Apple Rock is a must-see and is already built into this particular taxi journey.
It's easy to spend a good amount of time walking and taking photos, so start your day early. This will allow you to make the most of a tight time table in low season, when ferries have limited runs.
Stilwell bay is practically private and a perfect spot for a that picnic lunch. There are more toilets along the trail, but not here. Be sure to use them at the drop off/pick up point, Apple Tree Bay, since you'll be out of luck on this particular beach. Remember to pack out any trash as well.
The water is cold but swimmable, and make sure you keep track of the time in order to catch your ferry back to town.
You can stay in the area at the local hostel, but it's not a favorite of mine. Fellow travelers have stayed at Old MacDonald's Farm, near the Fat Tui, and loved it. Location and time will determine where you decide to stay locally, otherwise, enjoy your ride back to The Pear Orchard Lodge or the hip artisanal town of Nelson.
Helpful links and information:
Getting there: A map of the journey from Nelson to the Pear Orchard Lodge, Jester House Cafe, and finally Kaiteriteri.
The Pear Orchard Lodge, a B&B, close to the activity of Nelson and beauty of Kaiteriteri.
Kaiteriteri is a great launching point for Abel Tasman.
Abel Tasman a national park, full of activities - kayaking, hiking, camping.
Walking track map of the area.
Take the water taxi to get from beach to beach along the walking track. Check times.
Kayaking is great way to get close-up views of friendly seals and lush coastline.
Jester House Cafe is primarily outdoors, has great food, whimsical decor, and is perfect for families.
The Park Cafe offers a full menu, ice cream, and much needed water.
Fat Tui is known for their burgers.
Old MacDonalds Farm is a nice place to stay, close to the Abel Tasman park entrance.