Walking & hiking in the Abel Tasman National Park
Walking around Abel Tasman
Beautiful beaches, clear water, giant ferns, stunning views from high on the hills, 47m suspension bridge, fur seals, and a lovely climate make Abel Tasman National Park the idea place for a great walk. Because Abel Tasman includes one of New Zealand’s 10 great walks, the track quality and whole experience is excellent. You can walk as little as you like or up to 5 days to complete the whole coastal track. Bring your swim gear, it’s fantastic in summer. Take a water taxi to the start of the track, walk for a day or up to 5 staying in huts or cabins along the way.
Abel Tasman Coast Track
We did a 5 hour, 15 k walk along the Abel Tasman Coast Track, organised by ourselves. We had to book a return water taxi that dropped us off at Awaroa Bay and picked us up again at Torrent Bay. This is the best way to do a one day walk on the Abel Tasman Coast Track. You can read our full walk description here.
You could do a half day guided walking tour in Abel Tasman National park with a local guide.
Kayaking around Abel Tasman
If you really want to see Abel Tasman at it’s best, kayak around. This lets you explore the tiny coves and beaches that make the area so special. You’ll paddle alongside fur seals and experience secluded beaches you can’t get to by walking.
Sailing around Abel Tasman
Get the best of both worlds, do a full day comb and sail around Abel Tasman then walk through native bush and soft sandy beaches. This lets you explore Abel Tasman in comfort.
Frequently asked questions on Abel Tasman National Park walks
To walk the entire track takes from 3 to 5 days. The walk follows a protected coastline, many people combine walking and sea kayaking in Abel Tasman National Park. One day walks are really popular, as many points are accessible by taxi boat from beaches along the track.
The Abel Tasman Coast Track can be walked in either direction. The track is well marked and signposted, but some sections may be steep and rough and the track could be muddy.
No, is the quick answer on any DOC land, although you can get a permit to fly your drone (from DOC), including private and non-commercial use. Applying for the permit for the first time can be a little tricky, there is a free pre-application meeting then you need to contact the local iwi to assess whether your proposed activity will have any cultural effects. Oh, and it’ll cost you $74.75 for each DOC region you apply to use your drone. Use DOC Maps to help you find each region.
Peak season in Abel Tasman is from mid-December to March (Easter) in the summer. But it’s pretty busy with lots of hikers and can get quite hot. Best months for a visit with pleasant weather and fewer hikers are November, March, and April.
The Abel Tasman Coast Tracks starts in Marahau and ends at Awaroa. You’ll need to check the tides before crossing the estuary over the Marahau causeway.
Our Tips & Tricks on booking your trip to Abel Tasman:
Here’s our tips for finding the best prices for your trip to Abel Tasman.
Lowest Price Guarantee on Campervan Hire from Queenstown Airport – Compare Prices of 15 Motorhome Companies
Jucy Rentals are defiantly the cheapest with a really big range of camper-vans. If you’re looking for a van you can stand up in or with a bit more room then try Mighty. Britz and Maui are very popular and cater for small and really big campers.
Book your rental car from Queenstown Airport here
I’ve found the prices quite competitive for rental cars from DriveNow, they also have a really good selection to choose from. When booking there is a very handy “Live Chat” option if you get stuck.
Where’s the best place to stay before hiking in Abel Tasman:
Before you start hiking Abel Tasman Coast Track, you can either sleep in Nelson where there are lots of places to stay and plenty of shops. Set off early in the morning (when traveling by public transport the first bus usually leaves Nelson at 7:30 AM) or stay overnight right in Marahau. There are not that many accommodation options in Marahau, but you can arrive later, enjoy a relaxed afternoon in the village and start the hike early in the morning.
Our Tip: When traveling by campervan, you can sleep in a camp in Marahau, but you need to call them or make a reservation directly.
Don’t forget your travel insurance:
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past especially for medical. I’ve been using World Nomads for years and it’s very good.