First week in November, there’s signs of a new summer. Those new cythea shoots, that’s a tree fern, are generally unfurling although there’s still a few in cooler, damper, locations holding themselves in readiness.

Kaiteriteri has busloads of tourists, 150 people waiting expectantly on that golden sand beach, the water tours are big business here apparently. I get to meet many of them later in the day as they are dropped off in Bark Bay, or Anchorage, marching noisily, mostly in single file, often smiles deported, they aren’t carrying too much on the back unlike others travelling with full camping regalia in the opposite direction.

If you want solitude then the Abel Tasman isn’t the place to find it, there’s a more than occasional boat with its buzzing motor bumping, hacking, its way across the choppy sea, small planes and helicopters overhead, the beaches with lunch munching day-trippers, or gals clad in those cute rubber skirts indicating they are at times attached to one of those bright yellow kayaks, blokes as well but I guess I wasn’t looking so much at them.

On a sidetrack lookout I did have a moment solitude looking out where La Perouse anchored for almost a week back in the summer of 1827. Another flotilla of kayaks passed by immediately beneath, all hilarity but the exact reference alluded me. In fact out here you’re required to be so sociable that for the reticent you might end up completely unsociable.

The track, well, you could almost take a wheelchair self-propelled down it, a few speed bumps, the only thing missing is the asphalt and a dotted white line down the middle, all well signposted or creeks bridged, the sides neatly trimmed.

I do my Moderate Effort thing, although in this case it’s neither moderate, clearly on the easy side of things, nor much of an effort: the Tinline Nature Walk cruises through some decently regenerating forest, a hint of what once covered the entire region; Yellow Point Lookout, why not, it’s not so far.

It was worth checking out the Marahau end of Abel Tasman campsites: Tinline, a grassy slope that’s not so close to water; Appletree Bay, plenty of proximity to the sea but not much in the way of shelter, either the sun or wind; Akersten Camp, one great campsite, flat, mostly sheltered and, best of all, a personal picnic table, the other two acceptable; Watering Cove, good for a night with its tiny golden beach that might completely disappear with a big tide; Anchorage, well populated even at this early stage of the season with totally sheltered grassy sites, plenty of them, a big roofed kitchen structure, with long stainless benches sinks and a filtered water tap; but when it comes down to it Te Puketea Bay is best of all, that 300 metre golden curve of the beach that is almost covered at high tide.

It’s so good you could spend a couple of nights here. Oh, I am.

Day 2 | Te Puketea Bay again: when you know it's Paradise, why rush? →