Best holiday: 50th birthday in Abel Tasman

Last updated 05:00 16/04/2014

BIRTHDAY MEMORIES: Enjoying a walk with my sisters.

SHARING LAUGHS: Good food, good wine and good friends.

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My birthday falls in August. I had to find an attraction to tempt an international array of relatives to help me celebrate my 50th in New Zealand.

My Australian siblings were looking at tropical beaches. Whanau from the northern hemisphere had to be wooed away from their summer to our winter.

Beaches and winter are not on your average traveller's wish-list, so Abel Tasman National Park is deserted through our cooler months.

With boats and wonderful lodges on hold for the summer season, Wilsons Abel Tasman can open up a lodge to provide a tailor-made service.

With the type of hospitality that makes you feel at home, it's as if you owned a beach house and a boat on one of the most spectacular coasts in the world.

Even better, lodge hosts take care of every detail, including menus of your choice from fine dining to casual barbecue. I chose the full range at Torrent Bay Lodge, in the heart of Abel Tasman National Park.

The weather was ideal for walking and kayaking. Swimming was brisk but hot showers, central heating and an open fire at the Lodge made it worthwhile.

Story-telling and dancing featured well into the night, with the occasional stroll on the beach to check out a night sky so clear it seemed like there was more stars than sky.

The crisp winter sunshine made for photographs that could have been included in any brochure so memories of this wonderful holiday are preserved for us all to reminisce whenever we get the chance for another reunion.

Now, it's up to the rest of the family to try to find a comparable holiday to celebrate the next significant milestone.

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