If you’re short on time but still want to visit a beach almost as good as you’ll see along the Abel Tasman Coastal Track, a trip to Split Apple Rock could be a great option. It’s just over an hour’s drive from Nelson (and 10 minutes from Kaiteriteri) and only a few kilometres from Abel Tasman National Park. The big attraction is of course the “Split Apple”, but the beach is worth a visit in its own right.
Split Apple Rock
Have you ever seen a rock that supposedly looks like something, but it really doesn’t? Or it does, if you use your imagination and tilt your head a bit? You won’t get that here. The rock sticking out of the ocean on the west side of the beach looks exactly like a split apple. Top marks for whoever named it. You can see it well from the beach — make sure you walk towards the far end of the beach to see more of the “split” effect (you’ll get a better view from a boat or kayak though).
We saw a track ambling up the headland above Split Apple Rock and figured we’d see some cool views of it from above. The track was overthrown with thistle (or some other kind of sharp plant) but we eventually struggled to a clearing. It wasn’t really worth it, and the tree cover means you never get a good view of the beach from up there. You’re not missing much if you don’t do it!
The beach in front of the rock is beautiful on a nice sunny day. The water is clear, and the sand is that typical gold colour so prevalent in this area (with some black added in for effect). Quite a few kayak / waka / boat tours visit Split Apple Rock but if you manage to time your visit right it should be quiet.
Getting to Split Apple Rock
Many people visit on water-based tour (check some of them out here), but it’s an easy place to drive to. From Nelson head to Kaiteriteri, probably the most popular beach destination in the Tasman region. From there drive the winding road towards Marahau (one end of the Abel Tasman Coastal Track). After about 9 km turn down … street and follow the signs. There was no sign on the main road so it’s easy to miss!
You’ll have to park on the hill above the beach and walk down a short forest track (maybe 10 minutes). On the way back, we walked up a different track and ended up coming out in someone’s property. They should put a sign there if they don’t want people wandering around their garden! Anyway, it’s best just to go back the way you came.
Are you planning a trip to New Zealand’s Tasman region? Which places are you most excited to visit? Let us know in the comments below!
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