The Abel Tasman National Park was treasured by mana whenua long before it was first 'discovered' by the Europeans, when Abel Janszoon Tasman caught sight of the land back in 1642. Local iwi continue to have a strong relationship with this special place, working closely with conservation groups as kaitiaki or guardians of the land. Both the park and its gateway towns are home to a richly diverse history, and there are plenty of opportunities for visitors to learn more about the heritage of the idyllic coastal paradise we get to enjoy today.
Start your journey in the seaside village of Marahau with Abel Tasman Eco Tours. Hear about the fascinating history of tobacco growing in the area, and the community stories that make this such an extraordinary place to live. Your experienced guide will take you on a tour of some of the Abel Tasman’s most iconic cultural and historical attractions, from the Ngarua Caves at the top of the Takaka Hill to the sacred waters of Te puna o Riuwaka (Riwaka Resurgence) at the base.
After a relaxing night’s sleep at one of the lodges or beach camps in the laid-back village of Marahau, head a short distance over the hill to Kaiteriteri Beach, where you’ll be met by the team at Waka Abel Tasman. The traditional Māori canoe were a vital part of our history in travel and trade, with Waka being the living expression of our tūpuna (ancestors) who sailed the Pacific Ocean for thousands of years. Paddling the stunning coastline to the iconic Split Apple Rock, you’ll feel the joy of working as part of a team whilst getting to immerse yourself in the culture and history of this extraordinary place.
In the afternoon, hop aboard a scenic cruise that will take you deeper into the national park, and enlighten you with a tasting platter of the historic, cultural and conservation stories that make this place what it is today. We recommend stepping off at Medlands Beach where you’ll get to see the Pou Whenua overlooking the bay, a carved wooden statue that highlights the relationships Māori have with the area.
Upon your gradual descent from the coastal track into Torrent Bay, you’ll be treated to stunning views through the treetops. A short distance along the golden sandy beach is Torrent Bay Lodge, the place you will be spending the night, and a place that was once the Wilson family’s holiday bach. The family have a deep history in the park, and have been welcoming visitors since 1841. Eight generations of photos adorn the walls of the lodge, home-cooked meals fill your tummy, friendly hosts make you feel like part of the family, and rooms are named after ships that featured in the nautical history of the Abel Tasman coastline.. what better way to end your visit to the Abel Tasman and get a unique glimpse into its extraordinary past?
See below for the list of operators featuring in this itinerary ↓