We booked a visit to Abel Tasman National Park, about an hour or so north of Nelson. Abel Tasman is the smallest national park in New Zealand, but one of the most beautiful. We first got a shuttle bus through the town of Motueka, picking up the driver's dog in town, and continued on to Marahau on the edge of the park. We were joined by Helen, a young woman from Aberdeen, Scotland. We first got a water taxi ride to Bark Bay, about halfway up the coast of the park. The three of us hiked 2.5 hours from Bark Bay down to Torrent Bay, where we were again to be picked up by water taxi. The beach was very gradual here, so we had to take off our shoes and socks and wade out into knee-deep cold ocean water (remember: it's winter here) to climb up on the boat. After another short water taxi ride we were dropped off at Watering Cove, where we met John, our young kayaking guide. We had lunch on the edge of the beach at this beautiful cove, then started off in two tandem kayaks for a three hour trip around two of the local islands and back to Marahau. John happily shared his extensive knowledge of the area and the wildlife, and we saw seals up close, as well as sea urchins, birds, and crabs. We finally paddled back to Marahau, and took the shuttle bus back to Nelson. We had patches of sun, clouds, rain, and fog during the day, but whatever the weather we had a great time. This trip was one of the highlights of our time in New Zealand so far.