Walkways in Abel Tasman National Park
A walker’s paradise
Abel Tasman National Park is renowned for its world-famous coastal walking track, its golden beaches, unmodified estuaries, sculptured granite cliffs and mild climate.
It is a good place to visit at any time of year but during summer the park is particularly popular and the bays become dotted with sea kayaks, sailing boats and other water craft.
Many people choose to stay in huts or campsites provided by the Department of Conservation (DOC) as they explore the Coast Track. The track hugs the coast, offering spectacular views as you reach the top of a ridge, then it’s back down to a sheltered swimming and picnic spot.
Abel Tasman Sea Shuttle can cater for both day visitors and also those that are planning to walk the full length of the track.
Abel Tasman Coast Track
Marahau to Anchorage
Time: 4 hr
Distance: 12.4 km
French names left by Dumont d’Urville and his crew add character to this part of the journey. At the Marahau information kiosk, a causeway crosses the estuary. On the far side of the estuary the track passes through open country to Tinline Bay.
The track rounds Guilbert Point to Apple Tree Bay then passes through beech forest with large kanuka trees. After Yellow Point it turns inland, winding in and out of several little gullies before emerging in open country overlooking Torrent Bay and the coast and islands to the north.
Descend to Anchorage Bay where there is a hut and campsite.
Anchorage to Bark Bay
High tide track
Time: 4 hr
Distance: 12.1 km
Low tide crossing, Torrent Bay estuary
Time: 3 hr
Distance: 8.4 km
From Anchorage Bay, cross a low ridge to Torrent Bay estuary. The estuary can be crossed within two hours either side of low tide, or an all-tide track leads around it to Torrent Bay. Please keep to the public track through the private houses here.
At the northern end of Torrent Bay beach the track climbs steadily and then sidles around two valleys and above a beautiful inlet to Falls River, the biggest in the park, which is crossed by a 47 m suspension bridge. Beyond the river, the track meanders through lush coastal forest before dropping back to the sea. Follow the track to the hut and campsite beside Bark Bay estuary.
Bark Bay to Awaroa
Time: 3 hr
Distance: 11.4 km (tidal)
Cross Bark Bay estuary or follow the all-tide track around its edge and climb steeply to a saddle. Here you lose all sense of the sea below as you journey through stands of Manuka.
Return to the shore at Tonga Quarry, where blocks of granite remain from an old quarrying operation. Tonga Island sits offshore surrounded by marine reserve. A short distance on is Onetahuti Bay. The track then climbs over Tonga Saddle and descends to Awaroa Inlet. Follow the shore for 15 minutes to Awaroa Hut and campsite.
Awaroa to Totaranui
Time: 2 hr 30 min
Distance: 5.5 km (tidal)
Awaroa Estuary can only be crossed close to low tide. The estuary should definitely only be crossed up to one and a half hours before low tide and up to two hours after it. (Following very heavy rain the estuary may be impassable.) From its northern side the track crosses a low saddle and drops to Waiharakeke Bay, where a timber mill once operated.
The track re-enters the forest then emerges at Goat Bay, from where it climbs then descends to a lookout above Skinner Point before descending to Totaranui. Follow the road through the main camping ground to the camp office, Sea Shuttle pickup point and Coast Track walkers campsite.
Totaranui to Whariwharangi
Time: 3 hr
Distance: 7.5 km
The track heads around Totaranui estuary, climbs over a low saddle and winds down through lush forest to Anapai Bay. From here to Mutton Cove, travel alternates between sandy beaches and rocky headlands of regenerating Kanuka.
Leave the coast at Mutton Cove and climb to another saddle. From here the track descends to Whariwharangi Bay. Add 1 hour to travel via Separation Point. The hut—a restored farm homestead—and campsite are just behind the beach.
Whariwharangi to Wainui
Time: 1 hr 30 min
Distance: 5.5 km
From Whariwharangi Hut follow a small stream then climb out of the bay to a saddle overlooking Wainui Inlet. The track winds down to the shore around gorse-covered ridges recovering from a 1978 fire, then follows the estuary edge for 500 metres to the carpark. It is possible to cross Wainui Inlet within two hours either side of low tide.
Many secluded and sheltered coves and lookout points are accessible from the Coast Track, as well as the following side trips.
Tinline Bay Nature Walk
From the campsite a 20 minute loop track leads up Tinline Creek meandering through lowland coastal forest.
Te Pukatea/Pitt Head
A 20 minute walk crosses a low ridge from Anchorage Hut to crescent-shaped Te Pukatea Bay. From there a 1 hour walk with good views leads to Pitt Head, an old pa site, and back to Anchorage.
Leaving the Anchorage to Torrent Bay high tide track, a 15 minute wander leads up to a stream bed of large boulders and Cleopatras Pool.
A track heads inland from near Torrent Bay Village camp to the Falls River falls. Allow 3 hours return. A shorter option for those with less time is the Cascade Falls on the same track. Allow 1 hour 30 minutes return.
A steep 5 minute scramble about 30 minutes before Bark Bay takes you down to the secluded and very scenic Sandfly Bay (don’t let the name put you off!)
From Mutton Cove a track leads to Separation Point, where Fur Seals breed. This track branches shortly before the point to rejoin the Coast Track at the saddle above Whariwharangi Bay (1 hour).
For a comprehensive description of the Abel Tasman National Park track, history and tide tables, please click here:Department of Conservation or contact the friendly team at Abel Tasman Sea Shuttle.