The Abel Tasman National Park at the top of the South Island is New Zealand's smallest National Park, but it's also its sunniest. The gateway to the National Park is Marahau, about which is 67km from Nelson.
With its many golden beaches and secluded bays, granite rock formations and the famous Abel Tasman Coastal Track, one of New Zealand's great walks, you'll have a number of options to enjoy this coastal paradise. Whether you would like to spend a day kayaking on the water, hike part of the Abel Tasman Coastal Track, walk the entire length, or would just like to go camping in one of the many amazing campsites in the park, the good accessibility to various locations in the park gives you a lot of options.
Water taxis operate from Kaiteriteri and Marahau at various times of the day, and can pick you up and drop you off at different locations in the park (Anchorage, Torrent Bay, Bark Bay, Onetahuti, Awaroa and Totaranui), so you can choose which area of the park you'd like to visit or start your journey from.
Sea kayaking is a wonderful way to explore some of the bays which are not accessible via the walking track, and is also a good option if you would like to get up close and personal with marine wildlife along the coast.
Common forest birds, like tui and bellbirds/ korimako, can be seen along with pukeko around the estuaries and wetlands. Oystercatchers, shags, little blue penguins and fur seals can be seen on the coast.
The Abel Tasman Coast Track is suitable for people of most ages. It is 51 kilometres long and most people can walk it comfortably in 3–5 days. There are various walking options available. You can walk the track entirely independent and stay in DOC huts or campsites, there are options to walk the track unguided and with staying in lodges, or walk the track guided and also stay in lodges. All of the campsites have toilets and water supply. The track is accessible at several points, so you may choose to walk only short sections of the track and use boat services to return to Marahau or Kaiteriteri.
There are a number of estuary crossings on the track, so it is advised to check tide time tables when planning your hiking trip.
TIP : If you are camping, our favorite campsite in the park is Te Pukatea Bay, so we recommend to spend a night here. Or you may just walk to the Bay on a side trip from Anchorage. If you intend to propose your partner to marry you, Te Pukatea Bay is the place to do it! This beach is nothing but stunning.
Due to its climate, the Abel Tasman National Park is a greate place to visit year round, as it never gets too cold. During the Kiwi holiday season from mid December to mid February, the park gets busy, so visiting just outside the peak season might be a better option to avoid the crowds.
Remember to bring lots of sunscreen, and insect repellent to keep those pesky sandflies away.