Abel Tasman National Park - Definite must do when traveling through the Top of the South!
At the north end of New Zealand’s South Island is the beautiful Abel Tasman National Park.The Abel Tasman Coast Track is well known for being the smallest National Park in New Zealand though it also has been a top 10 destination on the tourist track for many years. There are many wildlife habitats throughout the Able Tasman which include fur seal colonies at the headland of Separation Point and the little blue penguins, bottle nose dolphins and seals mostly found at the Tonga Quarry Marine Reserve.
The walks through the National Park are well marked and signposted, during wet weather the tracts may be muddy and some sections may be steep. You may walk the whole track in either direction or you can take a boat trip which will give you a tour of the park and drop you at your desired location to walk the track of your choice and then pick you up at the next bay along at certain times.
If walking the whole National park on consecutive days there are available overnight accommodation choices. There are a total of 4 DOC huts and 18 campsites along the Abel Tasman Coast Track. These must be booked in advance all year round. https://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/nelson-tasman/places/abel-tasman-national-park/things-to-do/tracks/abel-tasman-coast-track/fees-and-bookings.
The beginning of the Abel Tasman walkway is either from the Southern end at Marahau or at the Northern end from Totaranui. The most popular destinations and walks are as follows:
Coves and Beaches:
- Appletree Bay
- Stillwell Bay
- Watering Cove
- Pitt Head Spit
- Anchorage Bay
- Torrent Bay
- Medland Beach
- Bark Bay
- Tonga Quarry
- Awaroa Bay
Many of the boat taxi companies operate out of Kaiteriteri or Marahau and usually have an early start with multiple sailings per day and more in the summer season. If you are just tripping in for the day an early start is necessary to be able have time to get the boat trip and a walk or a kayak in your schedule. Should you just wish to do a boat cruise the total time would be around 2 hours.
Popular Boat Taxis Companies:
Abel Tasman Seashuttles
Popular Kayak Companies:
Abel Tasman Kayak
R & R Kayak
Marahau Sea Kayak
Adventure Sports in the Abel Tasman:
For those of you that need the Adrenalin boost whist on vacation there are many exciting trips and tours available.
Abel Tasman Canyons:
They offer super Day Trip Canyoning activities available in the Abel Tasman National Park. So, you get to walk in deep into the rain forest to ideal destinations that have been set up for swimming,jumping,sliding and abseiling down and into the canyons using zip lines and just plain old gravity. Different levels of difficulty and also different levels of fitness. Expert Instructors to guide you through your chosen activity.
Abel Tasman Skydive:
These guys will give the adrenaline junkie "the best day of your life" up to 70 seconds of free fall on the 16,500 ft jump! Awesome scenery from up there with views of the Parks, snow capped mountains and fabulous Golden Beaches.
Mountain Biking: Gibbs Hill
Gibbs Hill is a Grade 3 track with some steep slopes and/or avoidable obstacles possibly on narrow track and/or with poor traction. There may be exposure at the track’s outside edge. Length: 10 km one way from Wainui to Totaranui. Can be a 23 km loop using unsealed roads as well as track. Biking on Gibbs Hill in Totaranui is allowed from 1 May to 1 October at any time of the day. There is a maximum group size of eight riders. Mountain biking is not allowed on other tracks in the area. There may be other users on the track for example: walkers, trampers and hunters. Some sections of this track are steep and slippery in wet weather. It’s 10 km of track from Wainui to Totaranui. From Totaranui use the road for the 13km return to Wainui. Totaranui - Gibbs Hill return 9 km From the Totaranui camp office, follow the avenue road and then Abel Tasman Coast Track past the Ngarata Homestead north towards Anapai. At 1.4km just past the concrete bridge turn left at the start of the Gibbs Hill track. The track crosses a ford before a 3km long uphill section begins which has steep sections. At the ridge and next intersection, turn right to Gibbs Hill. From the saddle leave your bike and follow a narrow track to the summit a few minutes walk away. Great views. Return the same way. Please remember Other users: Gibbs Hill track is shared with walkers and trampers (particularly on the section of the Coast Track at the Wainui end), and with other bikers who may be coming the other way. Gorse: There is gorse next to the track. The native forest is regenerating from historical clearance. Gorse is a nurse crop in the regeneration process. Take plenty of patches and/or spare tubes in case of punctures due to gorse thorns.
Getting there: The road-ends of Totaranui and Wainui are north-east of Takaka. Totaranui is 32km from Takaka by road. For the last 13 km the road is unsealed. Wainui is 21 km from Takaka. For the last 2km, the road is unsealed. INTERMEDIATE Published by: Department of Conservation Nelson/Marlborough Conservancy April 2011 FS 190 Rides Loop: Wainui – Gibbs Hill – Totaranui – road back to Wainui 23 km, 2 hours 30 min The circuit is easier to do in a clockwise direction to take advantage of the gentler uphill from Wainui to Gibbs Hill. From Wainui car park follow the Coast Track to the saddle and then turn right up the ridge towards Gibbs Hill. Near Gibbs Hill the track is very steep and most riders will need to walk. If you wish you can leave your bike and take a short walk to the summit. Continue south along the ridge and turn left towards Totaranui at the next intersection.