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New Zealand hikesNew Zealand Abel Tasman Coastal Track

New Zealanders and overseas visitors have turned to unspoiled hills, forests and coasts of our magnificent New Zealand landscape in search of physical recreation and spiritual solace. The Abel Tasman Coastal Track is unique among New Zealand's walking tracks in that its 46 km traverse only sea littoral - the bays, cliffs, estuaries and sea hills of Abel Tasman National Park, the entire unroaded coastline between Tasman and Golden Bays. Accessible at many points from both sea and land, the track has been developed as a high-grade family walk so that people of all ages and capabilities might appreciate the natural and historical attributes of the region and enjoy the recreational opportunities it has to offer.

Discover Abel Tasman Coastal Track, one of great walks top destinations for tramping and hiking track adventures - the Abel Tasman Coastal Track,Tasman and Golden Bays, New Zealand.

General Information

Abel Tasman Coastal Track runs through the Abel Tasman National Park and across four areas of private land via public rights of way. Abel Tasman Coastal Track and its facilities are administered by the Department of Conservation; its rangers are regularly present at huts and on the track in a supervisory or maintenance capacity.

All fauna and flora are protected:native plants must not be removed and domestic animals, such as dogs, are prohibited. All mammals ( except bats) are introduced, noxious and fair game (except on private property); but hunting of these (e.g. goats) is not allowed except by permit. Hunting permits and information may be obtained from national park headquarters in Tahaka or the ranger station at Marahau. Shooting is prohibited throughout the park during the peak visitor season from mid-December until end of January.

It is the responsibility of every traveller to seen that the environment remains undamaged and unpolluted and is preserved as nearly as possible in its natural state. Information about the park may be obtained from the official park handbook and park pamphlets obtainable at park headquarters and stations, the Department of Conservation in Nelson, at Government bookshops and many other booksellers.

During the Abel Tasmans Coastal Track season ( mid November to May ) national park wardens are in attendance at all huts to collect hut fees, give advice and provide park interpretation. Huts are linked by radio so that wardens may monitor the movement of track walkers. Even so, for safety's sake, you must ensure that you register your group's names and intentions in national park hut books along the track.

Time 3 - 5 days
Distance 51km 30 km (Marahau to Wainui) One Way
Grade easy
Highest Point
150m, at several places
Huts 4 Great Walks Huts, 21 Great Walks Campsites, DOC serviced campground (bookings required) and visitor centre at Totaranui

Map 260 N25 Tarakohe
Map 260 N26 Takaka

  • Coastal Scenery
  • Golden Beaches and good safe swimming
  • Easy Graded Track
  • Unusual low-tide routes across estuaries
  • Plenty of Campsites
  • Four Huts
  • Optional launch trip along coast
  • Excellent transport to and from both track ends

People dream about places like Abel Tasman National Park - golden half-circles of sand, warm-watered coves, with shady forest leading right down to the beach. Bushy islets dot the shore, rocks make strangley pleasing shapes and a good track wanders through the landscape. This is certainly the easiest major tramp in New Zealand. You can, and many people do, get away with sandshoes, though jandals would be pushing your luck - some parts of the track are rough underfoot. This is coastal walking at its best, with a tempting sandy bay around every corner.

There is one slight snag - it has become very popular, with up to 30,000 visitors a year. That makes it without exception the busiest track in the country ( the Routeburn has a mere 10,000 a year ), which brings with it all the usual problems - overcrowded huts and campsites, littering, pollution from the numerous motorised boats, yachts and other sea toys. Abel Tasman is not spoiled yet, but it will take a great deal of care on the part of users to keep it that way.


Abel Tasman Coastal track can be accessed via the southern end of the track which is 20 km by road from Motueka via Marahau and Riwaka (70 km from Nelson). The northern end at Wainui Bay is 26 km from Takaka via Tarakohe and Motupipi (140 km from Nelson). Totaranui can also be reached by road (33 km from Takaka) and the head of Awaroa Inlet ( 34 km from Takaka). Travelling times (except from Nelson to Motueka) are all slow

Private Transport: This is the most flexible and convenient method of reaching the track. If possible your party should make mutual arrangements with another party walking from the opposite end, so that you can swap cars for the return road journey. Car parks are available at Marahau and Wainui Bay ( For security sake you may be able to leave your vehicle at Marahau Motor Camp, a small fee will be charged.

You will see that, from the variety of access points and services available, you may tackle the Abel Tasman Coastal Track from almost any point you wish, walk as much of it as you wish and in whatever direction suits.

Track Transport
Abel Tasman Coastal Track is well served by public transport, with several bus companies, including - Abel Tasman Coachlines, Abel Tasman Aqua Taxis, Abel Tasman Wilson's Experiences and Abel Tasman Marahau Water Taxis, Nelson Lakes Shuttles running regular, daily services throughout the summer. You can walk, bus and take a cruise back the other way, enjoying the scenery from a different angle. There is considerable competition on this route, so a variety of options are available tos suit your particular needs.
Local Services
Abel Tasman Coastal Track closest ervices towns are Motueka and Takaka. All facilities are here, with good food stores, garages, a range of accommodation, and good coffee shops too!. Note that there are no petrol or food shop facilities at Totaranui, which has a motor camp that gets very crowded at the height of the summer (January). The park headquarters are at Takaka, and there is a Department of Conservation office at Motueka and Nelson and a ranger station at Totaranui.
Huts and Camping

Camping is forbidden within 500 m of the track, which because of the nature of the terriain means that you are obliged to use the huts. There are designated camping areas for the Abel Tasman Coastal track. huts can get uncomfortably crowded during the summer. Hut and camp site bookings required. Hikers pay hut fees per day which provides the user access to all huts and designated campsites. Note that you may only camp at the designated sites. Wardens are present in the huts during the summer. The Abel Tasman National Park has a strict policy of 'carry out what you carry in' and no rubbish facilities are available.

Weather and Season
Abel Tasman Coastal Track lies within a sheltered coastal environment. Strong winds are uncommon and there are about 2500 hours of sunshine a year. Rainfall comes with northerly winds and averages about 1600 mm (64 inches) annually. There is an average of 125 rain days a year (about 30%) with a somewhat higher average during winter and early spring. Day temperatures become very warm (23 deg C) during summer. Abel Tasman Coastal Track is an all seasons experience and if you wish to avoid the heat and the crowds you would be best advised to plan your trip for late autumn, winter or spring.
Clothing and Equipment

For much of your walk you will wear shorts and a light shirt; remember to take long trousers and warm over-garments for cool evenings and early mornings. A waterproof parka is essential - and a sun hut and sunscreen. You should wear comfortable boots or other strong and comfortable footwear ( not jandals) ; the Abel Tasman Coastal Track is usually hard and hot. A comfortable pack and sleeping bag are essential (plus) waterproof cover and tent if camping); there is no bedding in the huts except mattresses.

All food and personal utensils must be carried. You must take your own liquid fuel (preferably gas) stove; there are no cooking facilities, though all huts have solid fuel stoves for heating and drying. Use the fuel provided at huts and campsites. If this is scarce, collect dead wood only. Do not chop live trees. All native trees are protected and, anyway, green wood does not burn.

You should take a small first aid kit, small compass, including insect repellant and a suitable antihistamine if you are allergic to wasp and bee stings. Wasps and bees are present in large numbers during the summer. Carry a torch and of course, appropriate track guide

Fitness and Preparation

It is important to ensure that you are physically fit. If you are not preoccupied with blistered feet or sore muscles then not only will you cover the ground more quickly and safely, but you will have more time and opportunity to appreciate the scenery and natural features that you have made so much effort to reach! So - break in those boots, make sure your clothing and gear are comfortable and adequate, plan your food requirements, and undertake several training tramps or hikes of increasing length and difficulty. There's only one way to get fit for tramping - and that's tramping.

Before you leave home, inform relatives or friends of your intentations and dates of travel and put your names and plans in the log books along the way. This will make your location easier should you suffer any mishap.

Approach to Walking

Don't rush and don't loiter. Keep up a good, steady pace and don't indulge in too many rest stops - it's surprising how the time gets away from you. And rests should not be too long, otherwise you may stiffen up and lose your rhythm. Don't hang around if its wet and cold - keep body heat up. Start out early each day, so that you're always time in hand.

On the track, keep your party together at all times; this reduces the chance of a member getting lost or having an accident. Remember the golden rule - the pace of the party is that of its slowest member.
Guided Walks
For novices, young people, and older people - or simply for those who like and can afford a few mod cons - Guided walk operators offer a professional guiding services. For a fee you will be taken over the Abel Tasman Coastal track in 4 days, with nights at their comfortable lodge-huts. You can carry only a light pack with personal effects. There are sleeping bags and shower facilities at the huts, and the food is cooked for you, though members of the parties usually assist with domestic chores. Guides help you to appreciate the natural environment and history of the Abel Tasman Coastal Track and are willing to take you on interesting side trips. For further information and reservations you should contact your travel agent or Nelson Visitor Centre.

Fire: The Coastal areas of Abel Tasman National Park are often at great fire risk during summer. At all times, light open fires only in the fireplaces provided, or below the high tide mark on beches but not when onshore winds are blowing! Keep fires small and ensure that they are completely extinguished before you leave them. When total fire bans are in force, no open fires may be lit anywhere. Park rangers will ensure that such bans are strictly enforced. During periods of extreme fire risk, it is possible that the park may be entirely closed to visitors.

Tides: The Coast has a wide tidal range varying from 2.5 m to as much as 4 m. The Estuaries and lagoon entrances at Marahau (Sandy Bay), Torrent Bay, Bark Bay, Awaroa and Wainui normally must be crossed on foot only during the period 2 hours either side of low water. You must plan each stage of your walk with this in mind. Current tidetables are posted at both ends of the track, at huts and other points en route. Take notice!!

More>> Abel Tasman Coastal Track Photos & DOC Track Brochure
Distances Tracks / Times

But observation of one's surroundings is reduced in direct proportion to the speed of travel and, one might add, the weight of one's load. Most Abel Tasman Coastal Track Walkers will want to take their time - for comfort's sake and to take in to the full attraction of the natural environment.

Marahau to Anchorage Hut
8 km
3 hrs(4)
Anchorage Hut (Torrest Bay) to Bark Bay
9 km
2.5 hrs (3)
Bark Bay to Awaroa Bay
11 km
2.5 hrs (3)
Awaroa Bay to Totaranui
6 km
1.5 hrs (2)
Totaranui to Whariwharangi Bay
3 hrs ( 3.5)
Whariwharangi Bay to Wainui Inlet  
1 - 1.5 hrs
Totaranui to Wainui Inlet
13 km
4.5 hrs

Further Information

Department of Conservation

Nelson Visitor Centre
Cnr Trafalgar & Halifax Streets NELSON
Phone: (03) 548 2304
Email: or


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