Monday, 4 August 2014

Kaiteriteri & Surrounds

Kaiteriteri is a tiny seaside resort tucked into a beautiful little sheltered bay right on the edge of the Abel Tasman National Park. In fact our camp ground is the largest thing in Kaiteriteri, it looks out over the beach & bay with a large shallow estuary along one side and bush covered hills at the back and on the other side.

The camp ground stretches quite a way back tucked into the hillside and even though it doesn’t look like it in the photo there are over 400 powered camping sites along with 15 cabins. The camp ground can hold over 2000 people during the height of the season and if you add residents & day visitors to the mix, I bet the beach is wall to wall people then. A bit like Mount Maunganui at Christmas but on a smaller scale.

There are quite a number of unoccupied caravans & motorhomes in the park, they are being stored for winter. In the photo below only six of the vans you can see at the front of the park are occupied so we pretty much have the place to ourselves. Coincidentally one of the occupied vans is another Ultima (middle right edge) just like ours that arrived the day after us. More Ultima owners we haven’t met. We have now though and will likely see Sandy & Julie on the road again as they also live in their van full time but have now moved onto Golden Bay, where we’ll be heading in due course.

The weekends bring a few more people (& seagulls) to Kaiteriteri; Sunday drivers, families out for a walk or a fish ‘n chip lunch, kayakers paddling, cyclists on the cycle way or visiting the local mountainbike track.

Across the bay at the southern end is Little Kaiteriteri which can be reached by a walking track over a small bluff at the end of our beach. A lookout platform gives a great view back down the beach and out to sea. This photo (bottom right) is of Little Kaiteriteri bathed in the golden glow of sunrise.

Abel Tasman tour boats and water taxis leave from Kaiteriteri, the larger boats are moored in the bay, others are launched from the boat ramp just down the road from us. Each morning, the skipper rows out to his boat (above, bottom left) and then brings the boat into the beach where the ladder is extended from the bow and the guests board from the beach, this is how they dis-embark at the various beaches along the Abel Tasman Park too. None of the tour boats have been too busy, with just a handful of people a day catching the boats. A perfect time to do a tour without the crowds. There are dozens of tour options available from the various operators; day cruise, walk/cruise, kayak/cruise, swim with seals/cruise etc. Most include visiting the seal colonies that inhabit the off shore islands along the way. If you do a walk you can choose to do any of about 4 different sections of the Abel Tasman Great Walk.

Our first eight days at Kaiteriteri were fabulous although with a chilly start; crisp heavy frosts followed by cloudless sunny blue skies and not a drop of wind. Just what the doctor ordered, winter at it’s best. And it hasn’t been so bad since either, a couple of days of showers and a couple when a thick sea fog rolled in for an afternoon.

At the northern end of the bay is Kaka Pah Point and another short walkway and lookout with views looking north over tiny Breaker Bay and on to Marahau where the Able Tasman Walk starts. Ngaio Island is near where the iconic Split Apple Rock is located. And look at that bach (holiday home) tucked into a little alcove in the bay and only accessible by boat or maybe by clambering over rocks at low tide. I don’t think it would see very much sun in winter or even in  the summer. It’s a rather unusual place to build a house especially at what looks like sea level on sand.

At the lookout there’s also a destination sign post similar to the one in Bluff, another rather unusual spot to place one.

From Kaka Pah Point Lookout looking back over Kaiteriteri with Little Kaiteriteri to the left.

We drove around to Marahau one evening, a small settlement that marks the start of the Able Tasman Walk where there are holiday homes, farms, a couple of camping grounds, a few arts & craft galleries & a cafe. It’s Kaiteriteri without the tinsel, a more laidback rustic village and I would imagine a village without the crowds in the summer. It was deserted when we were there.

We haven’t actually been doing too much exploring while we’ve been in Kaiteriteri although on the day we had to go into Motueka to get our groceries we took a drive along the coast to Mapua Wharf which was once a busy coastal wharf servicing the regions orchards. It is now a boutique bar, cafe & arts & craft precinct that is very popular on the weekends but was virtually deserted on the week day that we visited. We sat outside The Smokehouse in the sun & had fish & chips for lunch.

I also bought a nice bag of tasty pears for $4 from a cart outside one of the shops. They were so tasty that when we found another stall on our travels selling the same pears we purchased more. I think the variety is Taylors Gold, smallish, rotund, brown and with a distinct “perfume” taste.

Mapua Wharf is located on the Waimea Estuary and across the channel from the large Rabbit Island. Rabbit Island reminded me of Matakana Island in the Bay of Plenty, covered with pine forest and protecting a large estuary.

Heading home after collecting the groceries we took a short detour to the Riwaka Wharf, a lovely sleepy settlement with quite a number of houses and well manicured gardens lining both sides of a tidal stream that emptied onto a very large mud flat (which I believe joins Outer Island, a sand bank further out in Tasman Bay).

Boatsheds & boats also lined both sides of the stream, the boats laying on their bottoms in the mud waiting for the tide to turn.


  1. Kaiteriteri in fog, most unusual & beautiful.. Nice to see our local area with your eyes and prose!

    1. Thanks Jimu, it's nice to be in your area, a very beautiful part of the country.


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