Named after the first European to “discover” New Zealand, this national park inhabiting the northernmost end of the South Island is yet another example of the country's diversity of natural beauty. Head to the south end of the island and you can scramble up glaciers; seek your adventure in Abel Tasman and you'll be skirting golden sand, navigating the granite formations that line the coast and thrust from the clear ocean waters, and basking in the year-round mild weather.
There are a plethora of adventure activities on both land and sea, from mountain biking, hiking, and swimming to kayaking, sailing, and scuba diving. Bikers will get their fill from the section of the Moa Park Track near the Canaan Downs car park and the track that runs from Gibbs Hill down to Wainui Bay. The Abel Tasman Coast Track has earned “Great Walk” status for a reason; its a 54 km (34 mile) trek over sand and water that could take up to five days. It's by far the best way to see what this park has to offer while going at your own pace (although there are tidal crossings that need to be traversed at certain times of day). There are plenty of campsites and accommodations in the park, while the small city of Nelson about an hour and a half drive to the south is a great place to start your trip.
The characteristically golden beaches are plentiful and many are accessible by both park roads and water taxis; Kaiteriteri, Totaranui, Marahau, and Onetahuti are all great stops for a dip. Even better, rent a kayak from one of the beaches and see the shoreline from the sea, or jet over to tiny Tonga Island, which is also a haven for snorkelers and divers. Golden Bay is another area known for having excellent dive visibility and marine life.
For more information on what to see, where to stay, and how to prepare yourself for a good time in Abel Tasman, check out the included links.