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Abel Tasman National Park

Abel Tasman National Park was name after Dutch explorer Abel Tasman (the first European to reach New Zealand in 1642 although he never set foot on land). It is the smallest of New Zealand's national parks at 22,530 hectares and one of the most popular, not surprisingly so with its sunny warm climate, golden beaches and turquoise seas.

Given National Park status in 1942 Abel Tasman National Park is located 77 km west of Motueka at the top of the South Island. There are three access points to the park, Marahau and Kaiteritere can be reached from state highway 60 from Motueka and Totaranui on the north/west side of the park from the West Coast or SH 60 which also flanks the park via Takaka.

Beech forest covers most of the park with Red Beech in the lower reaches and Silver/Mountain Beech in the higher areas.

Most of the forest birds, like many parts of New Zealand have disappeared, although the lovely song of the tui and bellbird can still be heard, faintails and pigeons can also be found within the forest. Along the coastal wetlands bittern, marsh crake and the branded rail can be found and the red heron may be spotted along the rocky shores. The little blue penguin and seals may be found on the rodent free Tonga Island.

The land form is made up of a granit dome over 100 million years old, the granit is what makes the lovely golden sands within Abel Tasman National Park.

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