More than 200,000 people visit the Abel Tasman National Park each year. A new book examines the natural riches that draw them. Warren Gamble reports.
There is gold in the Abel Tasman. Not just the precious metal, although there was a brief flurry of alluvial gold excitement among explorers in the Canaan area of Takaka Hill last century.
The gold these days is in the sand that helps draw visitors to the spectacular coastline of the country’s most popular Great Walk.
Abel Tasman National Park covers 23,000 hectares of a hill-country peninsula in a corner of north-west Nelson, making it the smallest of the country’s nine national parks. It’s neither the most pristine or the wildest of these natural treasures. But its unique combination of bush and beach make it the most beautiful.
Botanist Philip Simpson has brought these elements of geology, flora and stunning seascapes to light in his just published book Down the Bay, a painstaking examination of the park’s natural and social history.