Blessed with a mild climate, golden beaches and lush coastal native bush, the Abel Tasman Coast Track attracts visitors year-round.
Located at the very top of New Zealand’s South Island, the Abel Tasman Coast Track hugs rugged coastline through the beautiful Abel Tasman National Park. One of New Zealand’s Great Walks, this comfortable track is the perfect way to explore the unique beauty of the Abel Tasman National Park. From sandy beaches, shallow estuaries and peaceful inlets along coastal pathways offering spectacular views over the water, to lush native forest, alive with the gentle call of bellbirds, fantails, and kereru, this relaxing environment and mesmerising scenery offers a New Zealand experience to remember.
Thanks to easy access for ferries and water taxis, it is possible to complete individual sections of the trail, otherwise, the full length will take between three and five days. A variety of all-inclusive organised tours are available - you can combine walking with cycling, kayaking or combine the full tour on a multi-walk itinerary with other trails on the South Island. Alternatively, it is possible to undertake the Abel Tasman Coast Track under your own steam, but bear in mind, you will need to arrange transport at either end and plan your accommodation in advance. The track can be walked in either direction, South to North or North to South, but be sure to check on the tidal crossings where necessary.
Most pre-booked guided and self-guided tours collect from Nelson Airport, or a nearby hotel, and from there by bus and ferry transfer to the start of the track. The track Is can be broken up into five main sections, taken in either direction.
Marahau - Anchorage, approx. 12.4 km
From the start of the track at Marahau information kiosk, the path follows a causeway that crosses a shallow estuary and then across open country to Tinline Bay then around Guilbert Point to Apple Tree Bay. The winding track then passes through beautiful beech forest under large native kanuka trees. After Yellow Point the track winds inland, through small gullies before arriving over Torrent Bay, overlooking the sparkling turquoise water and islands to the north. The track descends into Anchorage Bay where a hut and campsite is available with basic facilities.
Anchorage - Bark Bay, approx. 12.1 km
This section begins by crossing a low ridge to Torrent Bay Estuary. The estuary can be crossed two hours' either side of high tide, otherwise an alternative, the longer route leads up and around the headland. At the northern end of Torrent Bay the track climbs up and over two valleys before reaching a 47m-long bridge suspended over a sparkling inlet. From here, the track then passes through a peaceful forest before dipping back down to the sea at Bark Bay, where you will find a hut and campsite close to the estuary.
Bark Bay - Awaroa, approx. 11.4 km
Cross the shallow water of Bark Bay estuary or follow the path around its edge if the tide is in and from here the path climbs steeply to a saddle where you can take advantage of lookout points to admire the fascinating rock formations in the water below. The trail passes through a dense manuka forest before returning to the shoreline at Tonga Quarry. Take in views from here to Tonga Island, home of a marine reserve, and abundant underwater life, a great location for snorkelling or marvelling at the lounging fur seals on the rocks. Further on, the path leads to Onetahuti Bay, where an all-tide bridge and boardwalk crosses another picturesque inlet. From here, the track ascends to Tonga Saddle before once more climbing down to Awaroa Inlet where you will find a hut, campsite and basic facilities.
Awaroa - Whariwharangi, approx. 13 km
Awaroa Estuary can only be crossed a few hours' either side of high tide. Once over the estuary, the track passes over a low saddle and sinks into Waiharakeke Bay, the location of an old timber mill. The trail meanders on through more native forest and beaches as well as up and over to an incredible lookout with spectacular ocean views. From here, walking alternates between yellow sandy beaches and rocky headlands before arriving at Whariwharangi Bay.
Whariwharangi - Wainui, approx. 5.5 km
This section of the trail passes through more beautiful inlets and small saddles before walking alongside the coast and arriving at the carpark. Here, meet your transport back to Marahau. From Wainui, there are public transport options to Takaka (Nov-May). For water taxi pick up, walkers will need to return to Totaranui.
For those on guided or self-guided tours which include accommodation, lodges are located along the track providing comfortable private accommodation with experienced hosts and guides, three course dinners with New Zealand wines and cooked breakfasts, overlooking the incredible scenery of the National Park. Meadowbank Lodge in Awaroa can only be accessed on foot or by water ensuring total privacy and seclusion at this picturesque location among manicured gardens overlooking golden sands and lapping waves. Torrent Bay Lodge offers homely private accommodation and excellent facilities, next to the tideline on the edge of the pristine sandy beaches of Torrent Bay.
View details of guided or self guided Abel Tasman Walks
For those with less time available, a one-day boat cruise incorporating kayaking, swimming, bird watching and snorkelling, is easy to arrange to experience the highlights of the National Park. Alternatively, reliable ferry service and easy-to-arrange water taxis mean you can easily experience day hikes, bike rides and kayaking tours without staying overnight.
There is a variety of accommodation options close to the National Park that allow easy access without committing to more than a day within the National Park itself. From eco resorts to luxury lodges and hotels, the options are endless for an escape to this exceptionally beautiful and unspoiled destination.