Abel Tasman National Park Walking Tracks
The world famous Abel Tasman National Park is New Zealand’s smallest national park but its formation and the coastal paradise it offers, makes it a must see during your stay in Nelson.
Founded in 1942 to mark the 300th
anniversary of Abel Tasman’s first arrival, the 225.3km2 park consists of forested hilly country to the north of the valleys of Takaka and Riwaka Rivers and is surrounded by the crystal clear blue and green seas of both Tasman Bay and Golden Bay.
Abel Tasman Coast Track
Of all of the walking tracks that make up the Abel Tasman National Park, the Coast Track is perhaps the most popular. At 51km long and well sheltered and accessible throughout the year, the Coast Track is wonderfully formed and extends from Marahau in the south to Wainui in the north.
Many people that walk the Coast Track break it up with a well-deserved swim. Within the area is one of New Zealand’s most admired marine reserves, which provides a safe haven for sea life and an area for scuba diving or snorkelling. Be sure to keep an eye out for the New Zealand fur seal and large crayfish.
From your accommodation in Nelson
you can access the Abel Tasman Coast Track in Marahau, which is a 70 minute drive north west of Nelson city. Classed as one of New Zealand’s ‘Great Walks’, the Coast Track takes 3 – 5 days to complete.
There are a number of kayak tour companies in the Abel Tasman area that provide both rental kayaks and guided kayak tours, allowing visitors to get up close and personal with the Abel Tasman coastline. Some of these include Kahu Kayaks
, Abel Tasman Kayaks and Freedom Rentals.
Abel Tasman Inland Track
If you’re more of a fan of the back country hills and bush then the less frequented Inland Track might be the more suited walk for you.
Just over 41km in length with an expected walk time of 3 days, there are four sections to this track. Arriving at Marahau from Bay Crest Motor Lodge in Nelson, the track begins climbing steadily away from the coast and then steeply up through regenerating forest all the way to Castle Rocks Hut. This takes an expected time of 5.5 hours to complete.
The next section of the Inland Track is from Castle Rocks to Awapoto Hut. With an expected walk time of 6 hours, this track heads north then swings west and starts an ascent. The track undulates for a while before descending to Moa Park Shelter, about one third of the way into the walk. From Moa Park you then cross a stream and re-enter stunted beech forest before eventually reaching Awapoto Hut.
The final two sections of the Abel Tasman Inland Track include Awapoto Hut to Pigeon Saddle and then from Pigeon Saddle to Wainui car park. This track is classified as a tramping track and can be linked with the Abel Tasman Coast Track. There are two huts and two shelters along the Inland Track.