Hiking The Abel Tasman Coast Track In New Zealand


Among other stunning places of New Zealand, there is the Abel Tasman Coast Track. This stunning 37-mile track has golden beaches, lush coastal bush, and a mild climate. The hike will keep you constantly stimulated by offering you the most gorgeous views. It can be done in 3-5 days, which is just enough to experience everything this route has to offer.

When hiking the Abel Tasman Coastal Track, you will enjoy the beauty of the Falls River from a 154-foot suspension bridge. Besides, you will be rewarded with Cleopatra’s Pool, which is a beautiful natural moss-lined rock pool, among other wonderful sights. In this article, we will talk about everything you need to know about this route, from equipment to accommodation.

Abel Tasman Coat Track Guide

Trail Overview

Route – Abel Tasman Coast Track

Location – New Zealand

Duration – three to five days

Length – 37 miles

The Abel Tasman Coastal Track is among the best hikes in the world according to many. Once you arrive, it will not be difficult to see why. The route is located in South Island, New Zealand, which is a one-hour ride from Nelson. It will offer you everything a nature lover craves in one place.

The track will take you along the coast, from golden coves to forests. Steep climbs, as well as declines, will take you to different gorgeous places, but it also means you will have to be physically prepared. This is a well-marked route, even though some sections may be muddy, rough, and steep.

Bear in mind you should check the tide condition before planning your hike since one section of the route is dependent on it. You will be able to finish the route in one and a half hours before the tide as well as two hours afterward.

You can start the hike from Marahau, which is what most people choose, or from Wainui Bay. Also, it is possible to start from Totaranui, which is located 9.6 miles from Wainui Bay. You can walk the route in either direction, take a kayak, or water taxi between different sections.


There are many Department of Conversation campsites and huts located on the trail. You have to book them in advance, and it can be done all year round. In total, there are 18 campsites and 4 huts. The prices vary depending on the location and season.

Campers are allowed to stay for two consecutive nights at the huts and campsites. Also, those who arrive without booking or who do not respect the rules may be asked to leave the campsite or pay a penalty fee. Bear in mind campsites are not suitable for hammocks, so you should bring a tent.

Route Details

Section Marahau – Anchorage

Time – 4 hours

Distance – 7.7 miles

The Abel Tasman Coast Track journey will begin with the estuary over the Marahau. Then, you will follow the track through open country, kanuka trees, and lush forest. After some time, the track will turn inland, passing through many small gullies before giving you a view of Anchorage Bay. From here, you will reach the Campsite and the Anchorage Hut.

You can also take the side trip along the Tinline Bay Nature Walk which lasts for 20 minutes. It is a nice experience because you can see a very strange tree in an unusual place.

There are many huts and campsites between Marahau and Anchorage:

  • Coquille Bay Campsite
  • Tiline Campsite
  • Apple Tree Bay Campsite
  • Watering Cove Campsite
  • Te Pukatea Bay Campsite
  • Anchorage Hut
  • Anchorage Campsite
  • Kiersten Bay Campsite
  • Observation Beach Campsite

Section Anchorage – Bark Bay 

Description: High tide track

Time: 4 hours

Distance: 7 miles

Description: Torrent Bay estuary, low tide crossing

Time: 3 hours

Distance: 5.2 miles

You can cross the Torrent Bay estuary in two hours, or you can go for the trek around it. A 154-foot long suspension bridge will let you cross Falls River. Afterward, you will explore the forest before you return to the sea and the gorgeous sand of Bark Bay.

You can also take the side trip to Cascade Falls, which lasts for one and a half hours. This place is a great opportunity to refresh and cool down. Since it is hidden in native bush, this part of the trek has some steep areas but it is worth hiking.

Another side trip option is Cleopatra’s Pool, which is a gorgeous natural pool with clear water. It is a nice swimming spot, so you can enjoy it after a hike.

There are not many options when it comes to huts and campsites between Bark Bay and Anchorage. But, they offer exactly what you need. You can stay at:

  • Bark Bay Hut
  • Torrent Bay Village Campsite
  • Bark Bay Campsite

Section Bark Bay – Awaroa


Time: 4 hours 30 minutes

Distance: 8.3 miles

You will cross the stunning estuary, spending 2 hours on every side during the low tide, or take the all-tide route around the edge which lasts 10 minutes. Bear in mind the climb will be steep, but it is going to take you to wonderful spots with manuka. Then, you will go back to the coast at Tonga Quarry, taking a walk to Onetahuti Bay. This amazing spot will offer you one of the longest beaches in the area.

Next, you will reach the Tonga Saddle. You can choose to follow the main route and get to the Awaroa Bay, before walking to Awaroa Campsite. On the other hand, if you would like to use a water taxi, turn right and follow the sidetrack until you reach the beach. You can even go below the high tide area before reaching Awaroa Campsite and Hut when the tide is low. Make sure you stay away from nesting birds.

There are four huts and campsites between the Bark Bay location and Awaroa location:

  • Awaroa Hut
  • Onetahuti Bay Campsite
  • Awaroa Campsite
  • Mosquito Bay Campsite

Section Awaroa – Whariwharangi Bay

Description: Awaroa to Toraranui

Time: 2 hours and 20 minutes

Distance: 4.4 miles

Description: Totaranui to Whariwharangi Bay

Time: 3 hours and 15 minutes

Distance: 6 miles

The area of Awaroa Inlet can be crossed 1 hour and 30 minutes before the low tide occurs as well as two hours afterward. Along the way, you will be able to see amazing beaches as well as gorgeous kanuka. You can either camp or visit the inviting Whariwharangi Hut which is located behind the beach.

There are several huts and campsites between Awaroa and Wainui:

  • Whariwharangi Bay Hut
  • Waiharakeke Bay Campsite
  • Whariwharangi Bay Campsite
  • Totaranui Great Walk Campsite
  • Mutton Cove Campsite
  • Anapai Bay Campsite

Section Whariwharangi Bay – Wainui

Time: 2 hours

Distance: 3.5 miles

This is a very scenic part of the Abel Tasman Coast Track. You should follow a stream and also climb to a saddle where you will get an amazing view of Wainui Inlet. This place is serene and gorgeous, so it is perfect for swimming and exploring nature. Besides, you will be able to experience rock pools. The track will take you to the shore and then to a car park.

Section Whariwharangi Bay – Totaranui

Time: 3 hours

Distance: 5.5 miles

Follow a stream from Whariwharangi Hut, then climb to a saddle which offers you a view of Wainui Inlet. Here, you should turn left so you start walking the Gibbs Hill Track. This route will take you back to Totaranui, but keep in mind it is very steep.

You can get a water taxi from Totaranui to Marahau, just make sure you have enough time to reach Totaranui on foot. Also, it is very important to find out more information about your water taxi provider. Note that you can use this track from 1 May to 1 October during the whole day. The maximum number of people that can get on a ride is eight.

Equipment Checklist

It is important to note that the Abel Tasman Coastal Track does not provide you with lighting and cooking facilities. Remember to bring candles, as well as a portable cooking stove.

Personal Items

  • Lightweight backpack suitable for multi-day hiking
  • Plastic/waterproof pack liner
  • Sleeping bag
  • Survival and first-aid kit
  • Safety equipment (compass, map, tide timetable)
  • Water bottle
  • Cookware and eating utensils
  • Lighter or matches
  • Flashlight
  • Trash bags
  • ID and booking confirmation
  • Portable stove
  • Toilet paper
  • Candles
  • Swimwear
  • Sandals for water
  • Bug spray

In case you are camping, you should pack:

  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag and sleeping mat
  • Hiking camera
  • Earplugs (in case you go to huts)


  • Multi-day hikes require having one set of clothes for walking and another set for sleeping
  • Hiking boots. Pay attention to your footwear because it should be broken in and comfortable
  • Hiking socks (polypropylene or wool)
  • Shorts (make sure the material dries fast)
  • Shirt (polypropylene or wool)
  • Raincoat or rain jacket
  • Warm gloves and hat
  • Sunglasses and sunhat
  • Additional underwear, socks, and clothes

*You cannot dry your clothes in the huts. That is why packing cotton clothes such as sweatshirts, T-shirts, and jeans are not appropriate for this route.


You will not be able to buy food during your hiking trip, so make sure you bring food that is nutrient-dense, lightweight, and cooks fast. For example:

  • Oats, cereal, porridge, bread, and spreads for breakfast
  • Cheese, salami, fruit, biscuits, tuna, and jam for lunch
  • Instant soup, rice or pasta, dried fruit or vegetables, dehydrated meals or cheese for dinner

*Hiking snacks are a must, such as muesli bars and biscuits. You will also need tea, coffee, emergency food, powdered drinks, and of course water.

The Abel Tasman Coast Track Pros

  • The Abel Tasman Coastal Track offers wonderful views whenever you reach a lookout, which happens every half an hour.
  • The water is gorgeous and fresh.
  • There are various side trek options if you would like to explore the area.
  • This track is located along the coast. Refreshing water is fairly easy to reach and it is such a nice way to end your long hiking day.
  • The trail offers many different things. If you decide to do the Abel Tasman Coastal Track route, you will be rewarded with many different terrains as well as amazing nature. You will experience an actually desert-like and very dry area. Also, there are amazingly vivid green locations that will fulfill every nature lover’s dreams.
  • You will get a chance to experience many different terrains in a short amount of time.

The Abel Tasman Coast Track Cons

  • This hike is not suitable for those who are not physically fit because of its constant steep both downhill and uphill.
  • There can be a lot of sandflies which can cause discomfort. Make sure you bring an adequate bug spray to protect yourself.
  • There can be many jellyfish in the water during certain parts of the year.

Our Recommendations

  • You should carry the trash with you during the whole hike since there are no trash cans along the trail.
  • Hiking from October to April is very popular, so make sure you book in advance to avoid any potential complications.
  • It is a good idea to book the water taxis in advance as well. Unfortunately, getting a water taxi requires more than simply hopping on one. There are no circular tracks so you will have to find adequate transportation depending on the direction you choose.

Globo Surf Overview

Hiking the Abel Tasman Coastal Track in New Zealand is considered one of the best hikes in the world because of its unique natural beauty. If you love adventure, it can be your next big adventure. This route will reward you with various types of terrain, from desert-like to stunning rivers.

Even though this route can be done in 3-5 days, you have to be physically prepared to endure strenuous uphill and downhill steep. Make sure you pack enough food for the hike, as well as cookware to have a successful trip. Wherever you go, don’t forget to follow the leave-no-trace principles!

More Backpacking/Hiking Reviews:


  1. Abel Tasman Coast Track, abeltasman.co.nz
Globo Surf
My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!