If you're up for an adventure, you'll find it at Abel Tasman National Park. Located in the northern part of New Zealand's South Island, it's made up of 22,530 hectares of white sandy beaches, dense native forest and opportunities to get the adrenaline flowing. You can see the region's protected landscape from land, sea or air, with hiking trails, kayaking trips and hang gliding experiences. Keep an ear out for the sounds of wildlife, such as tui and bellbirds, to wake you in the morning.
Whichever Abel Tasman National Park hostel you stay in, one thing's guaranteed: incredible views of the scenery. Whether you're near the beach or surrounded by greenery, the sights and sounds will have you springing out of your comfy bunk each day. Embrace the hostel experience and get chatting to your roommates around an on-site barbecue or bar. Some hostels in Abel Tasman National Park can make your trip easier by organising tours and others provide free linen too.
The main area people visit within the region is the national park itself, with its limestone hills and coastline with calm waters. Marahau is at the eastern edge of the park and has a small but quality clutch of eateries. The nearest major city is Nelson Tasman, just under 2 hours away by train, and it's your best bet for a big night out. Waterfront restaurants, world-famous doughnuts and a thriving craft beer scene will whet any appetite.
Nature is the main attraction at Abel Tasman National Park, and one way to explore it is from the sea. Take a kayak out to paddle along the coast, either as part of a tour group or independently. The Abel Tasman Coast Track is one of New Zealand's 'Great Walks'. It takes 3-5 days and is a great way to get up close with the native forest and its inhabitants (book ahead – there's a small fee). You can go scuba diving, mountain biking and even sky diving in the park, and after a day or two of seeking thrills, a relaxing laze on the paradise beaches is a perfect way to unwind.
Nelson Airport is the closest if you're flying in. It only receives domestic flights, so you'll need to catch a connection if you're visiting internationally. You can take a shuttle, bus or taxi into Nelson, and then catch a bus to Marahau (1 hour 45 minutes). Abel Tasman National Park itself is best explored on foot, bike or by boat.