At only 23,000 hectares this is New Zealand's smallest national park, but one of its most famous. Along with the coastal bays, lagoons and sparkling golden beaches of the famous 'Great Walk', the Abel Tasman also contains beautiful Beech forests, bizarre marble 'karst' landscapes and a spectacular system of caves in its lesser known interior.
The park's southern entrance is at Marahau only 30 minutes from Motueka and the park's northern entrance - Wainui or Totaranui is reached via Takaka Hill and Golden Bay. Bus services are available to either entrance throughout the year from Motueka and Nelson. Inland routes and access points link the coastal track with the park's higher reaches. Water based operators at Marahau and Kaiteriteri provide scheduled year round water taxi and cruise services, while helicopter and light plane access is possible to and from Awaroa.
The relatively short distance between huts (3.5 - 4 hrs) makes it suitable for families and allows time for relaxing. Consideration for tide times is essential when planning - the tidal estuary at Awaroa can be safely crossed only 1.5 hrs before and 2 hours after low tide, and the narrow channel at Onetahuti Beach approximately 3 hours either side of low tide.
The 51 km Abel Tasman Coast Track is one of New Zealand's Great Walks. Situated in Abel Tasman National Park, near Nelson, New Zealand, it is suitable for people of all ages and can usually be walked in 3-5 days. The track can also be accessed by kayak, or through commercial water transport services.
To help you plan your trip, check www.doc.govt.nz. This will give you tide times for the next 2 months. Planning further out - visit Land Information New Zealand's site. You will need to select the tide times
for Nelson, and subtract 20 minutes from all readings to get times for the Abel Tasman National Park
* Walkers should carry their own food, cooking utensils, lighting, sleeping bags, raincoat and warm clothes.
* Two tidal estuaries along the Coast Track have no track around them. Awaroa Estuary can be crossed approximately one-and-a-half hours before and two hours after low tide, and the narrow channel at Onetahuti Beach approximately three hours either side of low tide. Tide tables are posted along the track.
* Fire is a major threat to Abel Tasman National Park, particularly during summer. Open fires may only be lit in the fireplaces provided. Please ensure your fire is extinguished after use. Do not light fires on beaches or in strong winds.
More information on the Abel Tasman Coast Track is available by purchasing the Abel Tasman Coast Track brochure, and Abel Tasman National Park Parkmap. Or visit the Department of Conservation web-site: www.doc.govt.nz
Back-country hut tickets and Annual Hut Passes are not valid for hut use on the Coast Track
Camps. Each campsite has basic facilities, which may include a water supply, fireplaces and toilets. Not all campsites have fireplaces, so visitors should carry a cooking stove.
Marahau road end -
Anchorage Hut (26 bunks)
4 hours, 11.5 km
Anchorage Hut -
Bark Bay (26 bunks)
3 hours, 9.5 km
Bark Bay Hut -
Awaroa Hut (22 bunks)
4 hours, 11.5km
Whariwharangi Hut (18 bunks)
4.5 hours, 13 km
Whariwharangi Hut -
1.5 hours, 5.5 km
Do I need to pre book?
The peak tourism season in the region runs from mid-October to the end of April. There is a higher demand for most accommodation, activities and transport during this period, so pre-booking is recommended (particularly Dec - Jan). Both the huts and campsites within the Abel Tasman National Park need to be pre-booked all year round.
What is the minimum age & group size for kayaking?
For safety reasons, most companies have a minimum age of 14yrs for all kayak rentals and guided trips. A minimum group size of 2 people is required for all freedom rentals.
Where can I leave my vehicle?
Public DOC car parks are located at either end of the track. Secure car parking is available at Old MacDonalds Farm (Marahau) for $5 per day and many operators offer safe car parking services for their pre-booked clients.
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