Route Outline: Abel Tasman Coast Track

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The Abel Tasman Coast Track is an easy walk along beautiful swimming beaches, over low saddles, and across tidal estuaries.

Options for walking are very flexible with boat access to most points on the track and vehicle access at Marahau, Wainui Bay, Awaroa Inlet, and Totaranui. Many people only walk the Marahau-Totaranui section, while others arrange to be dropped off and picked up by boat, and don't walk anywhere at all! Both ends connect with the Abel Tasman Inland Track, making an excellent (although more challenging) circuit of the park possible. It is also possible to walk an easy section of the Inland Track to return from Wainui Bay to Totaranui, if desired. Huts can become very full during summer so camping may be a wise choice.

As one of the Great Walks, hut or campsite passes specific to the track must be purchased prior to setting out. Hut passes do not guarantee a sleeping space, and there is a two night limit on stay at each hut. Camping is only allowed at specified campsites. Passes may be purchased from visitor centres and DOC offices as well as outdoor shops, hostels and other outlets in the Nelson region. The Totaranui Campground is not part of the Great Walk. Bookings are required to camp there between December 20 and January 31. These are issued by DOC Takaka. Great Walks Campsites are located along the track, of which 17 are located away from huts. Each campsite provides water and a toilet.

Marahau Information Kiosk-Anchorage Hut: 4 hrs

Crossing the estuary of the Marahau River, the track winds along the coastline, passing the end of the Inland Track. The Coastal Track turns briefly inland before dropping to Anchorage Bay. 7 campsites are passed during this section before the hut.

Torrent Bay Lagoon can be crossed 2 hrs either side of low tide. Otherwise a track follows the shoreline. Soon the Falls River is passed before the track drops back to the sea. There are 4 campsites along this section.

Bark Bay Hut-Awaroa Hut: 4 hrs

Crossing the estuary or following the all-tide track, the track climbs away from the sea and crosses a saddle before returning to the shoreline by an old granite quarry. This stretch of coastline borders the Tonga Island Marine Reserve. The track soon crosses Tonga Saddle over to the Awaroa Inlet. There are 3 campsites along this section.

Awaroa Hut-Totaranui Campground: 1½ hrs

The Awaroa estuary must be crossed 2 hrs either side of low tide. Beyond Goat Bay is a lookout at Skinner Point and a descent into Totaranui. There is 1 campsite along this section near Goat Bay.

Totaranui Campground-Whariwharangi Hut: 1½ hrs

Edging around Totaranui estuary a track leads off to the left meeting the Inland Track and providing alternative access to or from Wainui Bay. The Coastal Track crosses a saddle to Anapai Bay and Mutton Cove, both of which have campsites. Another saddle with a side trip to Separation Point leads to Whariwharangi Bay and its restored farm homestead.

Whariwharangi Hut-Wainui Car Park: 1½ hrs

A saddle provides views of Wainui Inlet before dropping through gorse to the car park.


  • unionman Really wonderful (!) 5-day, combined hike and kayak trip this past October '05. Able Tasman "Wilson's Experience" guides and lodges helped make this a specially memorable experience. Maybe it sounds "wussy" or I'm getting older, but this was the first time I traded a full pack for just a day-pack and opted for beds, showers, and wonderful prepared meals. Good way to go, at least once in a while! Wilson's Torrent Bay Lodge and Meadowbank Homestead were perfect. The walking and kayaking were through some of the loveliest spots I've been to. The guides gave historical and natural information that made it more meaningful if I had just been walking independently. Only 3 hours of rain out of 5 days days of sunshine helped make it perfect. Try it ... you'll love it!
    25 December 2005
  • MB Myself and two friends walked the Abel Tasman over a period of 5 days, starting at Marahau and spending a night at Anchorage Hut, Bark Bay Hut, Awaroa Hut and Whariwharangi Hut. The track is very easy and in good condition. I think it is definitely worth taking the full 5 days to walk the track if you have time! As we were only walking for a couple of hours each day we were able to spend most of the time sitting on the beach, swimming and admiring the scenery. Separation Point is worth a visit, we were fortunate enough to see Dolphins and Seals here. There is also a small cave with glow worms at the north end of the beach at Anchorage Hut which is worth exploring! Even the water taxi ride from Totaranui back to Marahau was great as it goes via the Seals and Penguins at Tonga Island. The weather was great (Late November), the people we met were awesome and the scenery was stunning. Certainly worth taking 5 days to explore! The only problem was that the Awaroa Lodge was shut for renovations.
    24 November 2003
  • georgiepie Abel Tasman is the most beautiful part of New Zealand. I didn't walk all that far, I was with my family and I have a younger siblings (sister age 4, brother age 7). But it was still the highlight of my holidays. We went over Easter, which is actually a nice time to go, its not too hot/cold, and not too many people in Kaiteri!! We took the Water Taxi round to Bark Bay and walked to Anchorage. (I know, not far at all) We had planned to walk further, but at this stage I was piggybacking my sister and my brother's feet were about ready to fall off apparently. :) BUT of the little that I have done, it is absolutely wonderful scenery, and remarkably easy walking too. Also a little suggestion... if you get the chance, hire a sea kayak from the Marahau shop. It is well worth the money and you can stop to have lunch and walk around at random little beaches. Also, if the kayaking gets to your arms, flag down a water taxi and they'll tow you home. :D I rate this track very highly, I think everyone should at least experience a little bit of Abel Tasman National Park at sometime in their lives. :D PS- there are quite a few bees around on the beaches, I'm not too sure why, but when I was there (Easter 2002) there were bees all over the damn place, so watch your food and especially your cans of soft drink... no one wants a bee sting in the mouth do they? ^_^ from georgiepie (age 17)
    11 November 2002
  • markov This track is suitable for all ages-you can even do some sections of it by boat. The beaches along the way are lovely, with golden sand and warm water. The Awaroa Lodge offers restaurant food in the middle of nowhere, for an arm and a leg.
    18 November 2001
  • Paul The Coastal Track is really good for those who like to do long day walks, in fact I did the whole track in one day during the summer. The system of water taxi's covering most of the coastline means you can get picked up where ever you get tired.
    16 August 2001
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Creator: Matthew Added 1 January 19981 January 1998 by Matthew. 1 revision 31 January 201431 January 2014 by MatthewMatthew.
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