It’s a tale to pass down through the ages: a nation banding together to save a beautiful beach from private ownership. That’s exactly what has recently happened in New Zealand, and Awaroa Beach stands testament to the passion of the Kiwi people to preserving their stunning land for future generations of residents and visitors to enjoy.
If you’re travelling to New Zealand this summer, put Awaroa Beach and the surrounding Abel Tasman National Park on your must-visit list. You will see why the project had so much support - this is truly a gorgeous part of the country! With a New Zealand car rental
, you can see not only this very special place but a whole host of amazing spots around the unforgettable South Island and beyond.
Awaroa Beach and inlet as seen from the air
The story of how New Zealand bought a beach
In 2015, a picturesque Awaroa Inlet property of seven hectares went on sale. Accessible only by air or foot at high tide, it included a stunning private beach and three basic buildings - a one-bedroom cabin, a converted woolshed and an old fishing vessel. Many buyers were interested in the unique and lovely property, which had a price tag of $2 million at the very least.
Christchurch resident Duane Major saw the listing and thought that the property, smack in the middle of the Abel Tasman National Park, should really belong to the nation. It seemed like a pipe dream, but he and a friend began a crowdfunding campaign through GiveALittle.co.nz
, raising 1.5 million by February. Stuff.co.nz
, a news website, donated $20,000 to the cause, and through some more donations big and small, including a generous one from the New Zealand government itself, enough money was raised (the final price was nearly $3 million). In March 2016, the sale of Awaroa Beach to the people of New Zealand was confirmed. A trust was set up to handle the purchase, until it could be handed over to the government’s Department of Conservation in May 2016.
Enjoy Awaroa, the Abel Tasman and beyond
Not only is Awaroa Beach gorgeous and now available to be enjoyed by all comers, it is in New Zealand’s sunniest region - the perfect summer destination. Here’s how you can take it all in! For more ideas, head over to Motorhome Republic and have a look at their road trip ideas - like this Queenstown to Nelson itinerary
which finishes near Abel Tasman, or this Auckland to Christchurch itinerary
which passes by the region.
- Make the trip: A car rental is far and away the best way to get around in New Zealand, where public transport can be a little hit and miss. Car rental pick-up locations in the South Island include Picton, where the ferries from Wellington in the North Island arrive, Christchurch Airport, a major travel hub for the island, and Queenstown Airport. You could also make it a tour of the whole country and drive down from a pick up in Auckland.
- Experience the South Island: Abel Tasman and the Nelson region are wonderful, but they are far from all the island has to offer. In addition to these, we recommend you visit the beautiful lakes and mountains around Queenstown, the wild landscapes of the West Coast, the quiet beauty of the southerly reaches, and the vibrant, resilient Christchurch.
- Explore Abel Tasman: This national park has is known for its distinctive golden sands, many curves of which indent the coastline backed by native bush. There are several ways to discover it: on foot (in particular on the famous Abel Tasman Coast Track which can be completed in full or in segments), by kayak tour of half, full or multiple days, or just by car with a few stops at some of the lovely coves.
Get to Awaroa: The “People’s Beach” is isolated - that’s part of its charm! It is found along the Abel Tasman Coast Track, for those intrepid hikers, but even then the inlet can only be crossed at low tide and the hour on either side. Many visit via water taxi from Kaiteriteri or Marahau. Cars can drive to the carpark at Awaroa on the other side of the inlet.
If this beach with a fairy tale story is in your travel plans for the upcoming Southern Hemisphere summer, get planning! Airport Rentals can help you to get your holiday on the road, and the beauty of New Zealand’s South Island is waiting!