Although most of my travel posts talk about wheelchair accessibility, today’s post does not.
Unfortunately, my cruise-and-walk excursion to Abel Tasman National Park did not appear to be accessible, and an inquiry to Wilsons (the company that provided the tour) confirms the inaccessibility:
“You could join one of our Full Scenic Cruises. These cruises depart Kaiteriteri at 9.30am and 1pm daily. However, as our boat pulls right up to the beach and extends a narrow ramp for people to board, you would need to be able to navigate the sandy beach at Kaiterietri as well as our boarding ramp.”
So the best I can offer is an opportunity for non-mobile readers to enjoy this beautiful area through my eyes (and legs).
Abel Tasman National Park is New Zealand’s smallest national park. Opened in 1942, 300 years after Dutch sailor Abel Tasman first sighted New Zealand, this coastal paradise is managed and maintained by the Department of Conservation, and its Coast Track is considered one of New Zealand’s Great Walks.
Treks can be as brief as half a day (which is what we enjoyed), or as long as a three- to five-day experience. (More detailed information is available by visiting the Department of Conservation’s website.)
Our group of six traveled by bus from Nelson to Kaiteriteri, where we boarded a Wilsons boat and cruised north to Tonga Quarry.
We were given our picnic lunches and sent ashore, being advised that we would be retrieved at Medlands Beach in Bark Bay in four hours.
Since this 4.1 km walk normally takes two hours, this would give us ample time to enjoy the scenery along the way …
The walk was glorious, awe-inspiring, beautiful, vigorous at times … We walked, sometimes up inclines enough to require stopping and resting. Then gentle slopes, or slight declines. the view ranged from green trees and underbrush, glimpses of the sea, or panoramic views of green and blue sea and forest.
The map on page 4 of the DOC brochure illustrates the Great Walk from Wainui Bay to Marahau, as well as the tiny portion of the track that we walked: Onetahuti Bay / Tonga Quarry to Medlands Beach.