Abel Tasman National Park is a lovely paradise between Golden Bay and Tasman Bay, New Zealand. From water tours and cruises to kayaking and Heli-tours, there are numerous tour companies that offer various activities as you explore the park.
The summer is a popular time for visitors, but the shoulder seasons provide the best conditions for exploring, thanks to clear waters, crisp mornings, and peaceful beaches. Luxury lodges are available for those who prefer home comforts, but sleeping under the stars is regarded as the best way to capture Abel Tasman’s spirit.
Things To Do in Abel Tasman Coast Track
1. Take a Walk Along the Abel Tasman Coast Track
Starting from Marahau in Canterbury, you’ll hike 53km along the Abel Tasman Coast Track, which takes you through native forests and along golden sand beaches. It is one of the most popular walks in New Zealand. The sound of birdsong will awaken your senses due to ongoing restoration efforts conducted by the local business community and iwi. All year round, this walk is an extraordinary experience.
It is best enjoyed on a multi-day adventure that involves staying overnight at any of the beachfront lodges, campsites, DOC huts or even floating backpackers before continuing with your scenic walk the following day. If your schedule doesn’t permit a multi-day excursion, there are many half and full-day options, such as a walk/kayak or a walk/cruise. Consider taking a short detour to Cleopatra’s Pools, where you can slide down a moss-lined chute into pristine rock pools below.
2. Go Canyoning If You Don’t Usually Do It
The Abel Tasman National Park boasts a pristine paradise, one that few people have seen but many love. Adventures with Abel Tasman Canyons will have you abseiling down granite canyons, ziplining through the untouched rainforest, and sliding into natural rock pools will push your limits of comfort. We guarantee you’ll leave Nelson Tasman with a massive smile on your face, a better appreciation of the beautiful natural scenery surrounding us, and a whole new perspective on Nelson Tasman.
Kayakers can be found exploring Tasman Bay’s hidden coves and arches all year round, with its crystal-clear waters and sweeping coastline. An endless number of discoveries are to be made in this idyllic scenery that cannot be seen from land. With a freedom rental, you can take in the beauty of this extraordinary coastal paradise at your own pace, stopping to picnic on the golden beaches or going on a guided tour to discover the unique history of the area.
4. Take a Scenic Flight Over the Park
See the majestic Abel Tasman National Park from a different perspective with a scenic flight. Enjoy the sweeping views of the park’s coastline, pristine white sand beaches, as well as a lush native forest and waterways.
5. Spend the Night in the National Park
Our team believes that you won’t genuinely understand peace, serenity, and tranquility until you’ve spent a night in the Abel Tasman National Park, where the waves will soothe you to sleep. Birdsong alerts that you’ve woken up by sunrise. If you travel along the track, pitch a tent in one of the designated camping areas or stay at a floating backpackers, where you can watch the sunrise over the waters from the comfort of your sleeping bag. Or, if you prefer luxury, stay at one of the beachfront lodges, where you can enjoy delicious home-cooked meals while experiencing genuine Kiwi hospitality.
6. Sailor Cruise on a Ship
Take a sailing catamaran or scenic cruise to see the secluded hideaways and golden beaches of Abel Tasman National Park, watch playful seal pups playing in the water at Tonga Island Marine Reserve, and hear stories about the park’s iconic landmarks. You can listen to the gentle slap of the waves lying beneath you on the bow of the catamaran as you close your eyes and relax. Feel its soft rock as it glides through the water. If you choose a scenic cruise, you’ll enjoy seeing the breathtaking coastline from the top deck and will have the opportunity to view the wildlife below. Get out and walk or paddle in the park on one of the half-day cruises. It’s a lovely way to experience it.
7. Get up Close to Tonga’s Wildlife
It’s like paradise for nature lovers whether they go kayaking, snorkeling, on an eco-tour, or a scenic cruise. Marine life is abundant around Tonga Island; the best snorkeling can be found between Tonga Quarry and Foul Point, and scuba diving can be found on the reef systems surrounding the island. In the caves and crevices around you, you can observe red rock crabs, crayfish, snapper, and hermit crabs swimming and fussing about.
On Tonga and Pinnacle islands, natural sanctuaries are home to playful seal pups that can be seen best from boats and kayaks. Other regular residents of the marine reserve include little blue penguins, shags, gannets, and dolphins. Please wear gloves when handling animals, and be sure not to touch, disturb, or remove any plants. Keep at least 20 meters away from marine mammals when admiring them.
8. Pay a Visit to the Split Apple Rock
This hidden wonder, which can easily rival the wonders of the world, lies between the gateway towns to the Abel Tasman National Park, Kaiteriteri, and Marahau. A regular debate rages over how Split Apple Rock came to be. Scientists believe that the rock was split by a natural phenomenon called ice wedging, a process in which water enters cracks in the rock, freezes, and expands, causing it to break.
It is also said that the boulder was split in half by Maori legend when the Ocean God and the Land God fought over who should own it, given that it sat both in the ocean and on firm ground. Tonga Arches, Anapa Bay’s rock stacks, and Elephant Rock at Anchorage are also iconic sights in the Abel Tasman National Park, which can all be seen during a walk on the Coast Track, a scenic cruise, or a kayaking trip.
9. Paddle the Coastline in a Waka
Take part in the culture and heritage of New Zealand by paddling a waka (Maori canoe) along the breathtaking Abel Tasman coastline in a double or single-hulled craft, weaving through scenic islands and landmarks until you reach Split Apple Rock. During your paddle through the crystal-clear waters below, your guides will share extraordinary stories about Abel Tasman’s history as your paddle glides through a unique cultural experience unlike any other.
10. Visit the Regional Gateways to National Parks
In addition to being the gateways to Abel Tasman National Park, Kaiteriteri, Marahau, and Motueka are all popular destinations in their own right, all equally scenic and intriguing. Motueka is the perfect starting point for an adventure-filled weekend of artisan markets, skydiving, and dining at the Toad Hall. If you prefer something a little different, you can take a horse ride along the golden sands of Marahau.
It would be best if you end your evening with a delicious meal in Hooked’s waterfront beer garden, savoring the flavor of local craft beers and seasonal cuisine. Suppose you prefer the golden paradise of Kaiteriteri. Why not spend the morning kayaking or swimming in the crystal-clear lagoon, or perhaps taking a short stroll up to the viewing platforms surrounded by bush? Take a rejuvenating massage or facial at Kimi Ora Eco Resort if you’re in the mood for a bit of pampering.