29 Mar 24

Why New Zealand’s South Island is one of my favourite destinations

Tori Brown Australia & NZ

There is only one word for New Zealand – epic!

Tucked away in the very north of the South Island you’ll find the Nelson Tasman and Marlborough regions. They are extremely pleasant destinations all year and with their stunning natural landscapes, perfect for walking.

Explore the Abel Tasman National Park

Named after Dutch explorer Abel Janszoon Tasman, Abel Tasman National Park is New Zealand’s smallest national park and quite possibly New Zealand’s best kept secret where hiking is concerned. This area was also the site of the first contact between Māori and Europeans when Tasman first visited here in 1642, and historical references can most definitely be experienced along the trail.

The park itself offers well-formed tracks amidst a stunning coastal environment. Idyllic beaches, hidden coves, and inlets (which at certain times of the year you may be lucky enough to enjoy to yourself!), and lush coastal native bush make for a very enjoyable few days walking. If you love wildlife, you won’t be disappointed either – penguins, seals, and cormorants are abundant. Like us, they relish in the beautiful clear azure-coloured waters, ideal for swimming – be sure to put your swimmers in your daypack during the warmer months!

One of the delights of the trail, aside from the warm Kiwi hospitality, is that the lodges are accessible only by boat or on foot, which truly adds to that feeling of ‘getting away from it all’. Built on the original homestead site in 1994, Meadowbank Homestead is fashioned from recycled timbers and features heirlooms and local heritage artefacts passed down through eight generations of the Hadfield family. While the beachfront located Torrent Bay Lodge, further along the trail, traces the nautical history of the region, with each of the comfortable rooms named after ships which navigated the Abel Tasman Coast.

Discover the Queen Charlotte Track

Further east lies the Marlborough region, home to scenic sounds, world-famous wines and of course hiking! Stretching between the Queen Charlotte & Kenepuru Sounds lies the Queen Charlotte Track. An area also steeped in history, it is believed that Captain Cook sheltered in Queen Charlotte Sound during each of his three voyages of exploration at various points and named it after Queen Consort Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, wife of King George III.

The trail stretches 73km end-to-end and offers a true sense of discovery as you traverse the numerous peaks (none higher than 400m) and ‘straddles’ that are a notable feature of the trail. Vantage points along the way offer incredible views across the sounds and provide ample opportunity to keep an eye out for a wonderful variety of native wildlife – you may encounter New Zealand dolphins, whales in season and prolific birdlife. Evenings are spent in comfort at three locally run hotels along the trail, all offering delicious food and wine, most welcome at the end of a big day!

Why NZ is the perfect getaway

One thing is for certain, whether you consider the Abel Tasman, the Queen Charlotte, or a combination of both, you will be rewarded with two very different but equally enjoyable coastal hikes. New Zealand is close, it’s beautiful and the combination of fresh air, exercise, and spending time in the great outdoors by yourself or with friends and family makes it the perfect getaway.

The South Island of New Zealand has been here all along, and while it did take me some time to discover it, well you know what they say… better late than never!

What we offer

We offer guided and self-guided options for the Queen Charlotte Track and Abel Tasman Coastal Walk. Hike them separately or combine them in consecutive trips. Both offer fantastic experiences and support.

Tori Brown

Written By

Tori Brown

Tori is an expert in private group tours, adventure travel and destination management. With many solo travel experiences under her belt, Tori loves assisting clients to embark on their own life-changing adventures. On weekends Tori practises yoga and walks her local beach tracks.

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