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.
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.
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 hutâ€”a restored farm homesteadâ€”and campsite are just behind the beach.
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 ShuttleÂ pickup point and Coast Track walkers campsite.
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.
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.