February 23, 2014
Drive to Kaiteriteri
On a Sunday afternoon the road from Picton to Kaiteriteri, gateway to the Abel Tasman National Park, was slow, taking us closer to 3 and half hours rather than the normal 2 and half – lots of slow vehicles on the pretty but windy road along the coast and then through the mountains to reach the coast near the national park.
In just this first drive it is easy to see that the south island is the more dramatic of the two New Zealand islands. The peaks are higher, valleys more golden, and the sea bluer.
Services in Kaiteriteri
Located just 5 kilometers south of Abel Tasman National Park, Kaiteriteri makes a good base for exploring the park or staging a trek. Several of the water taxis and kayak companies are based here with a large parking lot in the center of town just behind service booths for the various companies.
We stayed at the Everton B&B in Little Kaiteriteri, a 10-15 minute walk to the town center. The clean and simply decorated Tasman room has a lovely view of the magical blue water below.
The owners, Diane and Martin, are friendly and efficient. Breakfast is a delightful spread of fresh and preserved fruit, muesli, yogurt and toast.
The two eateries in town, Shoreline and The Beached Whale, are serviceable and not much more. The Beached Whale has a pleasant patio with a big screen playing MTV videos. The pubby establishment also attracts the young Kiwi Experience (a hop-on-hop-off bus service) group that adds an interesting people-watching element to the evening.