Beachside paradise in Abel Tasman

New Zealand has it all: stunning landscapes, fascinating wildlife… and incredible beaches. So we discovered when we visited Abel Tasman National Park, and drove all the way to the top of the South Island. Passing through Nelson, we continued up the coast to the mountains, and found a long and winding dirt track leading through tropical forests to reach the campsite at the other end. This was another DOC (Department of Conservation) campsite, but a little better stocked than most, with kitchen facilities, barbecues and cold showers.

But it was the beach that lured me about this place: a long stretch of golden sand separating the camping ground from the clear waters of the Pacific Ocean. At this time of year (early Autumn) there were few people around. It was idyllic.

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Of course a swim was in order, and a stroll along the beach, but first we had to set up camp. We were quite used to camping by now and made short work of the tents.

We couldn’t visit this remote place without going tramping, so spent the afternoon walking over the steep hills to the next beaches. Our mum found it rather exhausting but we got her there and back again!

There was plenty of time along the way to take in the view of the beach from the hillside.

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By the time we returned it was getting dark and the moon was out. We settled in to cook a stir fry dinner – one of my specialities. It just so happens that the only meals I know how to cook are amenable to campsite cuisine.

The beach looked all the more wonderful under the full moon, and the three of us enjoyed a few moments sitting on the beach in the moonlight. I didn’t want to leave.

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