Tasman National Park
Abel Tasman National Park preserves the native bush and the coastline whose
rare beauty stirred to rapturous enthusiasm the French explorer Dumont
d'Urville, the first European to see it properly, when he came to describe
the peaceful waters that mirror rocky headlands.
The 'Bay of Islands' was how Cook described the area two centuries ago, and
the simplicity of his name masks the diversity of its charm. Site of New
Zealand's first European settlement and about 150 scattered islands off the
North Island, the Bay of Islands merits a four-day visit.
The Maori were the first to attribute the creation of the fiords to a titanic
mason, Tute Rakiwhanoa who hued out the steep sided valleys with keen
Mt Cook, or Aoraki the Cloud Piercer is the highest mountain in New
Zealand, standing 3754m (12,316ft) high. The mountain, which attracts
climbers from all over the world to its snow-covered peaks, stands in
Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, on New Zealand's South Island.
Naturalists will be drawn to Stewart Island, off the southern tip of the
South Island. Only an infinitesimal stretch of Stewart Island's 1,600
kilometers of coastline is touched by human habitation, where the tiny
settlement of Halfmoon Bay (formerly Oban) sprinkles its houses through the
bush and round a crescent of coast. The initial impression as one crosses
Foveaux Strait is of the island's magnitude.
Tongariro is New Zealand's oldest national park and a dual World Heritage
area. This status recognises the park's important Maori cultural and
spiritual associations as well as its outstanding volcanic features.