The Abel Tasman Coast Track is one of New Zealand’s nine Great Walks and perhaps the best easily accessible trail on the South Island. Abel Tasman offers pristine coastline, the trail itself is excellent with little gain in elevation, and the temperate climate makes the hike enjoyable year-round. In addition, you don’t have to hike the full distance and instead can drop in for day hikes from the various access points. No matter your level of hiking expertise, the Abel Tasman Coast Track is recommended for any South Island itinerary.
Abel Tasman Cost Track Information
Distance: 54 kilometers
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Time: 3–5 days
When to Go: The Abel Tasman Coast Track is open all year; peak season is from November through April. The average high/low temperatures are 22°C/13°C in the summer and 13°C/3°C in the winter.
Starting Points: Marahau, the gateway town at the southern border of Abel Tasman National Park, is the main access point for the Coast Track. There are three access points at the northern end of the park at Awaroa, Totaranui, and Wainui. The track can be walked in either direction.
Accommodation: Most hikers stay at the 19 campsites and 4 huts operated by New Zealand’s Department of Conservation (DOC). There are two private accommodations within the park, both near Awaroa Bay. For more, see our Abel Tasman Accommodation page.
Cost: DOC huts on the Abel Tasman Coast Track are $32 NZD per person and campsites are $14 NZD per person. Day hiking in the park is free.
Reservations: All huts and campsites on the Abel Tasman Coast Track must be booked in advance. Bookings can be made online through the DOC or at any DOC visitor center (there are offices in Motueka, Takaka, and Nelson).
Services: Filtered water is available at Anchorage, Bark Bay, Awaroa, Totaranui and Whariwharangi. All campsites have a water supply but it must be treated before consumption. All huts and campsites have toilets on site.
Tidal Crossings: There are four tidal crossings on the Abel Tasman Coast Track: the crossings at Torrent Bay and Bark Bay have all-tide trails that add approximately 1 hour of hiking time and 15 minutes of hiking time, respectively. The tidal crossing at Onetahuti and Awaroa do not have alternate routes. Check with the DOC for current tide charts.
Inside Scoop: Two of the best campgrounds on the Abel Tasman Coast Track are Te Pukatea Bay and Mutton Cove. If you’re short on time or seeking to get off the beaten path in Abel Tasman, try the northern end of the park past Totaranui. Most kayaking trips don’t make it there (the northern end is more exposed) but the coastline is stunning.
What to Do Next: Along with hiking, many people choose to go kayaking in Abel Tasman. In addition, the Marlborough Sounds are just east (it’s less than a three-hour drive from Marahau to Picton).