Beautiful and Beautiful -er Tongariro and Abel Tasman National Parks
“The landscape belongs to the person who looks at it…” -Ralph Waldo Emerson”
New Zealand is far enough away from the rest of the world to protect its natural beauty from hordes of tourists. If you are a sucker for a beautiful view, New Zealand is your place. Truthfully, beautiful is not even an adequate word to describe them.
Tongariro National Park was made more famous by its star appearance in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, like so many places in New Zealand.
The alpine, volcanic scenery is the setting of Mordor, in which stands Mt Doom, aka Mt Ngauruhoe. For the entire trilogy, Frodo and Sam are trying to get to Mt Doom in order to destroy the infamous ring.
The Tongariro Crossing is a 19.4 kilometre track.
It is billed as the best day hike in the country and one of the shorter Great Walks in New Zealand.
The land for Tongariro National Park was given by the local Maori to the government in 1887.
The condition was that a protected area for all to enjoy would be established.
This is the first example of an indigenous people gifting land to a colonial government anywhere in the world, and this is what earned Tongariro its dual ‘World Heritage Area’ status – signficant for both natural and cultural values. (photo Cordula Reins)
Abel Tasman National Park is the smallest National Park in New Zealand.
The Abel Tasman Coastal Track which is another one of New Zealand’s Great Walks stretches 51km and can be completed in anywhere from 3 to 5 days, depending on your motivation and level of fitness.
Kayaking lets you explore the small coves and beaches that are harder to get to.
You can also do the park as a day trip and take shorter hikes. We stayed in Nelson which I think is too far at 56 kilometers away. Motueka is closer at 20 kilometers which makes more sense if you are doing it as a day trip. There are also lodges at Arawoa and Torrent Bay in the park if camping isn’t your thing. All food has to be carried into the park as there are no shops at which to purchase groceries or supplies, however, there is a cafe at Awaroa Lodge in Awaroa Bay. (stopping to get fresh drinking water for the boat)
I love spending time on a beach.
The color of the water is ridiculous – deep turquoise.
It is one of the sunniest places in New Zealand. (here’s my uber)
Some of the beaches and rainforest feel a lot like Thailand.
There is so much beauty in New Zealand it is hard to imagine that there is so much hatred in the world. There is something healing and peaceful about being in these places. – about just being and realizing that the Maori have it right and everything we need is free. (or perhaps for a small entrance fee)