Family Camping

Abel Tasman National Park

Image © David T

Family Camping

Abel Tasman National Park contains rock pools, estuaries, outcrops, offshore islands, and golden sand beaches that rival the tropics. It is a national park defined by its coast. Abel Tasman National Park was established in 1942, on the 300-year anniversary of Abel Tasman’s arrival in New Zealand, the first European to visit the country. This was largely due to the work of Perrine Moncrieff, an avid ornithologist and nature enthusiast who lived in the area and advocated for its protection. Before the establishment of Abel Tasman National Park, Perrine and her husband had gifted land they owned to the Crown for protection. This act was the first in a legacy of philanthropy that has shaped the story of Abel Tasman National Park.


The First Europeans

Abel Tasman National Park is named after the captain of the first European vessels to reach New Zealand. In 1642 the Dutch Sailor Abel Tasman anchored in what is now known as Golden Bay. Tasman sent some crew in a small boat to make landfall. However before they could make it shore the crew was confronted by a group of Maori who were distressed by what they believed to be fair-skinned ghosts approaching them. A conflict ensued after one of the Dutch sailors fired his gun, and four sailors were subsequently killed. Tasman named the place Murderers Bay and sailed north without ever having set foot on land.

Isaac Gilsemans - A view of the Murderers’ Bay, as you are at anchor here in 15 fathom, 1642 - Image © National Library of New Zealand


The warm sands and cool waters of Abel Tasman National Park are etched in the memories of many New Zealanders who have spent their summer holidays camping on the different beaches. Today Abel Tasman National Park offers a range of recreational opportunities including superb coastal walking and sea kayaking.

Image © National Library of New Zealand

Project Janszoon

Project Janszoon, named after Abel “Janszoon” Tasman works to restore the ecology of Abel Tasman National Park. The trust was established in 2012 with a goal to increase the park’s biodiversity and aims . It is aiming to complete the project in 2042 to coincide with the 400-year anniversary of Tasman’s arrival in New Zealand. One of the most recent charitable acts to shape Abel Tasman National Park occurred in 2016 when Duane Major and Adam Gard’ner started an online campaign to crowd source $2 million so a privately-owned beach could be bought for inclusion in the park. The successful purchasing of the beach secured continued public

Image © Project Janszoon

Little Blue Penguins

At only 25 centimetres tall the little blue penguin is the smallest penguin in the world. Yet despite its tiny stature its highly effective flippers allow it to travel a long way offshore in search of food.

Image © Charles (Chuck) Peterson

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