Abel Tasman National Park may be New Zealand’s smallest national park at just 87 square miles but its world-famous coastal track is well worth a trek down under. Known for its pristine white sand beaches and sculptured granite cliffs, this park hides an eco lodge that’s only accessible via foot, sea kayak, or boat.
Backpackers should begin their trek to Awaroa at Marahau, the eastern entrance to the park, with a five-hour hike to the Anchorage campsite. The next day, Awaroa Lodge emerges from the native forest of manuka and kanuka tress in the northern end of the park. Once a shed that served tea and fresh scones, today Awaroa is a luxury wind and solar-powered eco lodge.
Settle into your room, overlooking the surrounding wetlands, and hike the trail system to spy paradise shelducks navigating the waterways, 60-year-old eels swimming through the plant foliage, and bioluminescent glow worms lighting up at night. Refuel on big-eyed tuna and steamed New Zealand clams.
Backpackers should pack a lunch and hike to Separation Point and Totaranui Beach, a 2.5-hour tidal hike across the inlet of a wide bay. For more nights under the stars, set up camp on the beach. Beginning at $298; awaroalodge.co.nz.