Able Tasman is a national park on the north coast of the South Island, about 100km from Nelson. It is thick native bush land which meets exquisite crystal clear sea and deserted golden beaches. We had wanted to visit ever since we had seen a picture in the Lonely Planet and the scenery and weather did not disappoint. We found a lovely camp site overlooking Tasman Bay with the mountains beyond and on both mornings woke to watch the sun rise beautifully change the colour of both.
There are two ways to get to know the park - walk and camp in it, or Kayak around the coast. We opted for the Kayak trip and spent a day visiting a seal colony, paddling along a very remote coast, having lunch on a beach and being transported to the start and finish of the tour in very fast water taxis. It is a fantastic way to see the coast, but rather oddly, the highlight for me may have been the start and finish of the taxi ride. You jump in your speedboat at the kayak centre office, which is a few hundred metres inland, which means that you then travel along a road, sitting in the back of the boat being pulled by a tractor. Very odd, but made me laugh.
The campsite we stayed at was one of the cheaper places so there where a few people there that made us realise that our budget is not too bad. There where three girls who could not afford meat, two blokes that only came to camp sites when they really needed a shower and two girls in the spot next to us were experimenting with tents so that they could save up for a diving course. They started by renting two sleeping bags and a tent. The lack of sleep due to cold on night one made them rent two more bags for night two. This did not help much and as we left they looked very down hearted, especially as the weather was getting worse. I tried to impart advice about insulating themselves from the ground with a roll mat, cardboard or leaves, but I think they looked upon me as an ageing freak. Ho hum.