One of the best hikes in the world
Abel Tasman Track
Our favourite coastal tramp in our favourite hiking region of the world — glorious New Zealand. 🙂
AT A GLANCE
- one of the Great Walks
- most popular multi-day hike in New Zealand
- 54.4 km easy coastal hike (or kayak)
- 3-5 days to complete
- huts and campsites available for a fee
- tide dependent
- booking in advance is required
- access by road or water taxi
Why We Like This Hike
- idyllic multi-hued sand beaches; swim calm crystalline seas; enjoy awesome sea vistas from atop rugged cliffs
- fascinating & photogenic tidal estuaries
- stable, warm summer weather
- open year round. Kiwi Autumn (February, March, April, May) would be our favourite months.
- easy to access and organize
- one of the best hiking options in New Zealand for families, children & groups
- in case of injury, illness, fatigue, etc., you can escape by water taxi
- you can fish. Check with DOC for permit details.
- One of the official Great Walks of New Zealand, the Abel Tasman is by far the busiest.
- huts can book-up months in advance so reserve as early as you can
- two-night limit at each hut and camp site
- huts are basic but comfortable
- no dogs
- outhouse-style toilets
- tent sites are generally excellent though sometimes crowded with kayakers. We prefer tenting — until it rains.
- portable stove & fuel needed. You must carry your own food.
- insect repellent might be needed for sand flies 😦
- if wanting a less crowded alternative, we’d recommend the Queen Charlotte Track
Cost & reservations
Click over to the DOC (Department of Conservation) Fees and bookings page for costs and reservation deadlines for huts/campsites.
You have more options if tenting. It’s a gorgeous place to tent. 🙂
Before deciding on your route, check the DOC Track Description.
Here’s what we did, staying in huts.
- Marahau to Anchorage (11.5km)
- Anchorage to Bark Bay (9.5km)
- Bark Bay to Awaroa Bay (11.5km)
- Awaroa to Whariwharangi (13km)
- Whariwharangi to Wainui Car Park
It’s easy to do the Abel Tasman Coast Track independently. Most do.
But if you’d prefer to have someone organize your hike and provide a guide, check DOC’s list of recommended companies offering Guided activities and Tours.
The Abel Tasman Coast Track is accessible by road at four points, each with a carpark:
- Awaroa estuary
Transport to the trail
The Abel Tasman is well serviced by public transport including buses/coaches and boat transport. Check the DOC Getting There page for most recent options.
- DOC Abel Tasman Coast Track official webpage
- Nelson Visitor Centre & DOC counter
- Motueka Visitor Centre
- Golden Bay Area Office, Takaka
Best Trekking Guidebooks
Be sure to get the most up-to-date editions. Many guidebooks, including LP, are available in electronic format.
- Lonely Planet Hiking & Tramping in New Zealand, Slater, Bennett & DuFresne, 2014
- Trailblazer New Zealand the Great Walks – Alexander Stewart, 2009
- Walking the Abel Tasman Coast Track – Philip Holden
Best Travel Guidebooks
Other Recommended Books
- Classic Walks of New Zealand – Craig Potton, 2000
- The Story of Abel Tasman National Park – National Park Board, 1985
- Straying from the Flock – Alexander Elder, 2005
- The Whale Rider – Witi Ihimaera
- A Land Of Two Halves – Joe Bennet, 2005, travelogue
With a guidebook, you don’t really need a map. Certainly you’ll be able to pick up one in New Zealand if you collect them. Nobody gets lost on the Abel Tasman. 🙂
Best Web Pages
Best Trip Reports
- Adventure Junkies
- Abel Tasman Coast Track: A stroll in the park, 2012
- The Hiking Life – Abel Tasman Coast Track 2010
- Abel Tasman Coast Track, Kevin Gong, 2002
- Abel Tasman Coast Track, Stephanie Cotteret
Click PLAY or watch a DOC promo on YouTube.
Click PLAY or watch another DOC promo on YouTube.