Chances are you came here to visit the Abel Tasman National Park right? With incredible natural beauty, native bush and wonderful bird and sea-life right at our doorstep this is a must-see. There are plenty of options available for all ages and abilities. Whether you walk into the park or enter by one of the many water-based forms of transport, this place will take your breath away.
“Blessed with a mild climate, golden beaches and coastal forest, the Abel Tasman Coast Track really has it all.”
Department of Conservation, Great Walks website
The Abel Tasman National Park was established in 1942, named after Dutch explorer Abel Janzoon Tasman who visited the area in 1642. The park covers 22,530 hectares, making it the smallest of New Zealand’s national parks. The area was an important source of food gathering for early Maori, particularly the many estuaries which provided rich seafood. European logging and clearing activities later threatened to destroy this area’s beauty. This prompted the establishment of the national park to protect and restore the native bush and pristine coastline.
There are two walking tracks running through the Abel Tasman National Park. The inland track for more enthusiastic hikers, and the more popular world famous coastal track. The coastal track allows visitors to the park to see the best of everything the park has to offer. Walking the coast you can enjoy the sanctuary of the native bush which is home to a large number of native birds. As well as the beautiful golden beaches, granite cliffs and crystal-clear, sparkling turquoise water in each of the parks bays. You may even see fur seals, dolphins, and if you are really lucky a penguin or two. Please always keep a distance of at least 20 metres from these animals for respect and safety.
The coastal track is around 54 kilometres long and walking the track in its entirety takes between 3-5 days. There are eight huts and numerous campsites along the way. Each of these is equipped with toilets and usually a water supply (though not always treated). There are a number of transport options available to allow you to see the best of the park without having to walk the whole track.
Things to remember
(This information is a general guide only, for more detailed information see the Department of Conservation (DoC) website)
There are a few tips to getting the most out of your trip into the park, whether you are planning a half, full or several day visit. For all visitors we strongly recommend the following items:
- Insect repellent (to ward off those pesky sandflies)
- Sunscreen, sunglasses and a sunhat
- Comfortable shoes (especially if you will be walking)
- Plenty of food and water to last the duration of your trip (there are no shops in the park and only one restaurant at Awaroa Lodge)
- An extra layer of clothing (New Zealand weather is notorious for quick changes)
- A map of the park
- A camera (you will regret not having one to capture the stunning views!)
Although it is unlikely you will get lost in the park during the day as the track is well signposted and well maintained, it is always a good idea to let someone (e.g. someone here at the Guesthouse) know where you will be going and when you plan to return.
If you are planning to visit Onetahuti or Awaroa, consult a tide timetable (ask at reception) before planning your trip. The estuary crossings in these bays can only be completed at low tide.
For those planning a longer stay in the park, all of the above also applies, as well as the following:
- Remember that booking a space in a hut or on a camp site in advance is a must during the peak season (October-April) as spaces are limited and you may miss out. DoC rangers do carry out checks to ensure campers have the appropriate passes and those who are camping/sleeping in a hut without a pass will face consequences.
- You need to bring your own sleeping bag and tent (if camping).
- There are only a few spots in the park which have a drinking water supply, so do make sure you are prepared with enough drinking water to last between these spots.
- You also need to bring your own food and if you want to cook you need to bring your own gas cooker as there are no cooking facilities provided.
- Make sure you are well-prepared with a good pack, enough clothes (including warm clothes) and comfortable walking shoes.
- Please check the weather forecast before you leave!
When you encounter animals such as seals or dolphins in the park, please keep a respectful distance (DoC recommends at least 20m).
Finally, your safety is your responsibility in the park. Make sure you are informed before you go and consult the DoC website for detailed information about being prepared.
The above information is from the websites below. Take a look for more information about the Abel Tasman National Park:
Department of Conservation – Abel Tasman National Park
Great Walks – Abel Tasman Coastal Track