Abel Tasman

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Abel Tasman National Park

Abel Tasman National Park Sea Kayaking & Hiking information.

General InfoHuts & CampsitesPlanning your TripWalking Times & Track DetailsCancellations & Alterations

Natural High appreciates the work of the Department of Conservation, for providing us with the land access and marine mammal viewing permits. Also the use of text and information provided by them.

The 51km Abel Tasman Coast Track is one of New Zealand’s Great Walks. The track is classified as a walking track; all streams are bridged and it can be walked by most people in 3-5 days. Boots are not necessary but firm footwear is recommended. Consult a tide timetable when planning your trip as some estuaries are only passable during restricted periods.

Abel Tasman National Park is situated on the northwestern coast of the South Island of New Zealand. Established in 1942, the park covers 226 sq km (87sq mi) between Separation Point and Marahau Inlet on South Island’s Tasman and Golden Bays. It extends inland for an average of about 9.7km (about 6 MI). The park also includes the Tata Islands in Golden Bay and Tonga, Adele, and Fisherman Islands in Tasman Bay. The mainland section of the park consists of a range of limestone and marble hills, the slopes of w hich are covered with a wide variety of vegetation, including an area of rain forest in the Lower Wainui Valley.

Several species of birds live in the park, as well as seals, deer, goats, and wild pigs. The park was named for Abel Tasman, the Dutch sea captain who became the first European to sight New Zealand in 1642.

The Coast Track is managed by the Department of Conservation and is open to visitors throughout the year. The Department of Conservation (DOC) provides a range of accommodation along the track, including four huts, 21 campsites and the Totaranui campground. There are charges for the use of these facilities, and visitors must purchase their passes to use these facilities before starting the track.

Please note that there is a two consecutive night limit on staying in any one hut or campsite throughout the year. (Anchorage sleeps 26, Bark Bay 22, Awaroa 18).
Back to Top Huts have heating, toilets, bunks, mattresses and a water supply.

Huts and Campsites

No cooking facilities are provided, so visitors should carry a cooking stove. Visitors wanting to use huts on the Abel Tasman Coast Track during the peak summer season, from 1 October to 30 April each year, must book hut space before their trip.

There are 21 campsites spread throughout the Abel Tasman National Park. No bookings are required except at Totaranui camp at the end of the park. The Coastal track is one of New Zealand’s great walks so you require to buy overnight camping passes for each night you spend in the park. These can be purchased from our office in Nelson or from our staff. Over peak summer (Dec-Feb) these campsites tend to fill up early and are taken on a first come first served basis, so being set up by approx 2.00pm each day would be advised. You may stay a maximum of 2 nights in each site NZ$10 per night (adult), NZ$5 per night (youth: 11 to school leaving age), 0-10 Free.

Coast Track campsites.

Please click on highlighted campsite names to view photos of camp and surrounding area. (Photos will appear in a new browser window, to return to this page simply close new window.)

View a larger, more detailed map of the National Park

Name of Campsite Number of Tent Sites
Whariwharangi 20
Mutton Cove 20
Anapai Bay 4
Waiharakeke 10
Awaroa 30
Onetahuti 20
Tonga Quarry 10
Mosquito Bay 20
Bark Bay Hut Camp 5
Bark Bay 40
Medlands Beach 6
Torrent Bay 10
Torrent Bay Estuary 6
Te Pukatea 10
The Anchorage 50
Watering Cove 10
Observation Beach 6
Akersten 5
Stilwell 3
Appletree Bay 15
Tinline 15
No water at Te Pukatea
Boat access only
Camping is also available at Totaranui.

Climate

Nelson is the sunshine city in New Zealand with the most sunshine hours nation wide. The Abel Tasman National Park has an average maximum temperature of about 24°C and minimum of 12°C.

Winter average 12°C maximum, 4°C minimum.

Summer water temperature is approx 18°C and winter 14°C.

However, the weather can be very changeable anytime high winds and rain can occur. Waves increase quickly in size and force kayakers to wait out these storms on land. Check the weather reports for Nelson by clicking here. Abel Tasman National Park average rainfall is approx 1800mm per year.

Food & Drinking Water

Food – The Abel Tasman National Park has no shops or restaurants except Awaroa Lodge, which has a restaurant and bar, at the top end of the park, so you need to bring all your food with you.

Water -Giardia has been found in The Abel Tasman National Park so boiling water is advised. You can also purify chemically. Kayakers will be given a quantity of good Nelson water for drinking and cooking. Filtered tap water is available at Anchorage campsite and Totaranui campsite from marked taps.

Toilets

More than 70 throughout the National Park (with toilet paper).

Rubbish Disposal

There are no rubbish bins in the National Park so all rubbish needs to be carried out by you!!

Insects

Yes we have mosquitos but they do not spread malaria here. We also have Sand flies (small mosquito like insects) with an annoying bite. Cover up when sleeping morning and evening, dark clothing attracts more than light, good repellent works (natural types are available-please ask). Wasps and bees are also around so if you are allergic, carry antihistamines with you.

Fires

PLEASE don’t light fires on beaches, use the fireplaces provided in the campsites.

Planning Your Trip

Please remember… Walkers should carry their own food, cooking utensils, lighting, sleeping bags, raincoat and warm clothes. If hut space has not been booked, walkers should carry a tent and sleeping mattress.

Two tidal estuaries along the Coast Track have no track around them. Awaroa Esturary can be crossed approximately one and a half hours before and two hours after low tide, and the narrow channel at Onetahui Beach approximately three hours either side of low tide. Tide tables are posted along the track.

Please remember… to ‘sign in’ and ‘sign out’ of the park at the beginning and end of your trip by using the intentions books provided.

Walking Times & Track Details

Marahau road-end-Anchorage Hut (26 bunks) 4 hours, 11.5km

French names left by D’Urville and his crew – Adele, Simonet, Torrent – add character to this part of the journey. At Marahau information kiosk a causeway crosses the estuary. On the far side the track passes through open country to Tinline Bay.

The track rounds Guilbert Point to Apple Tree Bay then passes through beach forest with large kanuka trees. After Yellow Point it turns inland, winding in and out of several little gullies before emerging in open country overlooking Torrent Bay and the coast and islands to the north. Descend to Anchorage Bay where there is a hut and campsite.

Anchorage Hut – Awaroa Hut (26 bunks) 3 hours, 9.5km

From Anchorage Bay, cross a low ridge to Torrent Bay estuary. The estuary can be crossed within two hours either side of low tide, or an all-tides track leads around it to Torrent Bay. Please keep to the track through the private houses here.

At the northern end of Torrent Bay beach the track climbs through pine trees. The track slides around two attractive valleys and above a beautiful inlet to the park’s biggest river, the Falls. Beyond the river side again before dropping back to the sea. Follow the track to the hut and campsites beside Bark Bay estuary.

Bark Bay Hut – Awaroa Hut (22 bunks) 4 hours, 11.5km

Cross Bark Bay estuary or follow the all-tides track around its edge, and climb steeply to a saddle. Here you lose all sense of the sea below and journey quietly through the stands of manuka. Return to the shore at Tonga Quarry, where blocks of granite remain from an old quarrying operation. Tonga Island sits offshore surrounded by marine reserve. A short distance on is Onetahuti beach; at its northern end, high tide may cause a delay. The tidal stream can be crossed within 3 hours either side of low tide. The track then climbs over Tonga Saddle and descends to Awaroa Inlet. Follow the shore for 15 minutes to Awaroa Hut and campsites.

Awaroa Hut – Totaranui. 1 hr30 min, 5.5km

Awaroa esturay can only be crossed 1 1⁄2 hours before and 2 hours after low tide. (Following very heavy rain the estuary may be uncrossable.) From its northernside the track crosses a low saddle and drops to Waiharekeke Bay where a timber-mill once operated.

The track re-enters the forest then emerges at Goat Bay from where it climbs to a lookout above Skinner Point before descending to Totaranui. Follow the track through the camping ground to the visitor centre.

Totaranui – Whariwharangi. 3 hr, 7.5 km

The track heads around Totaranui estuary, climbs over a low saddle and winds down through lush forest to Anapai Bay. From here to Mutton Cove travel alternates between sandy beaches and rocky headlands of regenerating kanuka.

Leave the coast at Mutton Cove and climb to another saddle. From here the track descends to Whariwharangi Bay. The hut – a restored farm homestay – and campsite are just behind the beach. Add 1 hour to go via Separation Point.

Whariwharangi Hut – Wainui road-end 1.5 hours, 5.5km

From Whariwharangi Hut follow a small stream then climb out of the bay to a saddle overlooking Wainui Inlet. The track winds down to the shore around gorse-covered ridges recovering from a 1978 fire, then follows the estuary edge for 500 metres to the carpark.

Transport is available from the carpark and it is possible to cross Wainui Inlet within two hours either side of low tide.

Cancellations and Reservations

If the Department of Conservation closes the track due to track conditions or bad weather, a full refund will be given on hut or camp passes. If, for any reason, you cancel your summer season hut pass, the following cancellation fees apply:

  • 7 or more days notice – 25% cancellation fee
  • Less than 7 days notice – 50% cancellation fee
  • After first booked date – no refund
  • Cancellations at short notice due to ill health – 25% cancellation fee.

Refunds are only available through the Abel Tasman Coast Track Bookings Desk. Alterations to bookings can be made through the Bookings Desk or any Coast Track pass outlet, and will incur a $5 fee.

If you do not use your winter season hut pass or camp pass, the following policy applies:

  • Full refund will be given up to the date from which the pass is valid
  • No refund will be given after the date from which the pass is valid, except in exceptional circumstances.
  • Refunds are only available form DOC offices in Totaranui, Takaka, Motueka, Nelson and Picton.
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