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The Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand

Day Hiking the Abel tasman natial park, New Zealand. Looking back to bark bay.
Looking back towards Bark Bay, Our Starting Point On The Abel Tasman Coastal Track Day Hike | © Travels and Wandering

This pristine national park had to be one of the first posts on my new blog for a few reasons. It was my favourite place to visit in NZ and has since become the benchmark for every beach or coastal national park. The Abel Tasman was founded in 1942, and sits on the north of the south island just west of Nelson.

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About The Abel Tasman National Park

  • This DOC site (department of conservation) or wilderness reserve is a protected area full of native Flora and Fauna.

  • There is also a marine reserve island along this coastline called Tonga Island

  • The full coastal track is 37 miles long and starts at Marahau and finishes up at Mutton Cove (Wainui bay) and takes between 3-4 days to 'Tramp'.

  • My favourite thing about the Abel Tasman is the fact that cars are not allowed past Marahau.

Tips For Hiking And Visiting The Abel Tasman National Park

Kayak or Swim To Split Apple Rock, The Abel Tasman National Park | © Travels and Wandering
Split Apple Rock, The Abel Tasman National Park | © Travels and Wandering

The full trail takes about 3-4 days but you can make it longer/shorter if you want to just be sure to book your camping well in advance. I'd reccomend making your trip a little longer if possible to fully enjoy the area.

  • For booking your trip scroll to the bottom of this post or Click Here.

  • Take hiking shoes, jandals and togs (Flip flops and swimwear).

  • Be sure to abide by the Leave No Trace (LNT).

  • There are also back country huts as well as those in the coastal track which will allow you head inland and explore more of the wild lush landscape.

  • If you only have a day to spare I promise you, you wont regret the visit (it is a short drive from Nelson or even Marlborough if you don't mind getting up early).

  • During the boat ride look out for split apple rock (pictured above).

  • If you don't mind milder temperatures then late September - November (spring) or March - early May (autumn) may be the quitest times and easiest to get a booking.


Along the walk and on the boat ride we saw numerous seals, blue penguins and even bottle nosed dolphins. The birds and cicadas echoed all along the trail and at times the views from the trail became so wild it was like a scene out of Jurassic Park.

Get yout camera ready (I just had a beginners camera and a single standard lense, but I don't edit any pictures in my posts to make sure expectations aren't un realistic).


Day Hike The Abel Tasman Coastal Track

All pictures in this post are taken by me (or the ones including me were taken by my ex) from one of my favourite trips I took when living in Blenheim (Marlbough). I visited the national park a few times, this was my favourite experience. I visited here with my partner at the time (who is from Blenheim) and we were both wowed by the pristine nature of the national park and how well preserved it is.

The water is so clear and stunning all along the cost. Everywhere just looks so wild and like something you would see in the movies. I struggled to narrow down my choice of photo's for this post.

We were lucky enough to only pass a few people on the tramping trail all day.

Starting Our Day Hike At Bark Bay, The Abel Tasman National Park

Day trip to the Abel Tasman national park. Hiking or kayaking starting at bark bay
Me at the starting point of Bark Bay, The Abel Tasman Coastal Track and National Park | © Travels and Wandering

We took a boat (Aqua Taxi) from Kaiteriteri that dropped us at our start point in Bark Bay (Pictured above), along the track then tramped for about 8 hours. The route we took only takes 4-5 hours but we stopped a lot at every view point and beach to relax, swim and just enjoy.

There is a DOC hut that you can stay in at Bark Bay which has 34 beds. Alternatively you can camp at either Bark Bay or the near by Mosquito Bay. The DOC campsites have to be booked well in advance (a year or more in advance for most spring and summer dates).

  • There are 40 sites at Bark Bay but 20 sites at Mosquito bay and it is only accesible by water.

Day hiking the Abel Tasman national park. Get an aqua taxi to the national park and pick where you start your trek
Passing over the bridge from Bark Bay and heading towards Tonga quarry. The views from this bridge and many others are lovely but I will save that to your imagination or when you visit (hint there are lots of small water falls, crystal clear water, sand banks and a large suspension bridge further into the national park | © Travels and Wandering

We walked around the estuary of Bark bay and crossed the bridge before heading back inland slightly on the track and towards Tonga Quarry (the next bay).

Tonga Island and Tonga Quarry

Tonga Island which is visible from Tonga Quarry (aka little tonga) and the track. It's a small sandy bay before you reach Onetahuti. I'd definitely love to kayak over to the island on my next trip. We stopped here for a swim and had some of our lunch.