Activities on the Abel Tasman Coast Track

Kayaking

Sea kayaking, Falls River, Abel Tasman National Park. Photo: Diana Parr.
Sea kayaking, Falls River,
Abel Tasman National Park

For people who haven’t kayaked before, a guided trip is recommended. If you are renting a kayak or going on a guided trip, discuss your kayak trip with your chosen kayak operator before booking huts or campsites.

For independent kayak rentals, a minimum of two people and previous sea-kayaking experience are essential.

For more details and your own safety be sure to contact kayaking operators, or i-SITES.

Kayaking is more weather dependent than walking along the Coast Track, so you are advised to:

  • Book campsites that are within your kayaking ability and plan for the worst weather—head winds and rough seas. Then, if the weather makes kayaking slow you will still get to your campsite. If the weather is fine and there is a tail wind, you can always kayak to your campsite, set up your tent and then go exploring with your kayak without your overnight gear. 
  • Assess your fitness, the wind strength and direction and sea swell before proceeding each day. If the weather is too rough to safely kayak to your intended destination (the campsite you have booked), stop and wait for a few hours or camp in an alternative campsite. It is permissible to camp at a campsite other than the one you have booked for safety reasons. Explain the circumstances when a Ranger inspects your Camp Accommodation Ticket.

Never risk your life by kayaking in dangerous seas!

Kayaking is not recommended north of Onetahuti Bay due to the remote and exposed coastline.

Approximate paddling times for experienced kayakers in calm conditions without stops are:

  • Marahau to Anchorage 3 hr
  • Anchorage to Bark Bay 2 hr 30 min
  • Bark Bay to Onetahuti 1 hr 30 min.

Gibbs Hill mountain biking

Mountain biking Wainui - Gibbs Hill - Totaranui is open from 1 May to 1 October. There is a maximum group size of 8 riders.

Mountain biking is NOT allowed on other tracks in the area.

For more information: Gibbs Hill mountain biking



Other activities

Viewing seals

New Zealand fur seals can be seen at various places along the coast. There is a large breeding colony at Tonga Island. Seals should not be approached closer than 20 metres.

Tonga Island Marine Reserve

The Tonga Island Marine Reserve boundary is marked on shore by large triangles and includes Mosquito Bay, Tonga Quarry and Onetahuti Bay beaches. Off shore look out for buoys marking the north and south boundary (see map).

Within the marine reserve:

  • all plant and animal life is totally protected 
  • all fishing including gathering shellfish is prohibited.

For more information: Islands

The three largest islands in the park, Tonga, Adele and Fisherman, are home to many native plants and animal species which are either low in number or are no longer found on the nearby mainland.

Tonga Island, home to a seal breeding colony, is not suitable for public access.  Adele and Fisherman islands can be accessed by boat or kayak but do not have toilets and camping is not permitted. The nearest toilets are at Appletree Bay.

The islands have no non-native mammalian predators – please help keep them that way so they remain safe for native wildlife and plants living there.

If planning to visit Adele and Fisherman islands, please, before you go:

  • Check boats, kayaks, all bags, containers and gear before going onto islands and ensure there are no mice, rats or other animals inside. 
  • Ensure that all clothing, footwear and gear are free of soil and plant material, including seeds and foliage.
  • Check there are no ants or spiders in food and gear you are taking with you.

On the islands:

  • Dogs are not allowed on the islands and elsewhere in the national park.
  • Do not light any fires, including barbecues and beach fires. Fire can cause devastating damage to wildlife and vegetation.
  • Please take all rubbish with you when you leave the island.

Hunting

  • No hunting is allowed 500 metres either side of the Abel Tasman Coast Track.
  • The remaining area of Abel Tasman National Park, hunting is by permit only.
  • Areas are closed annually from sunset on 22 December to sunrise on 9 February.
  • For hunting permits for northern Abel Tasman National Park you can apply online or contact DOC Golden Bay.
  • For hunting permits for southern Abel Tasman National Park you can apply online or contact Nelson Regional Visitor Centre or DOC Motueka.

Apply online for a hunting permit

More information on hunting in Nelson/Tasman  

Dogs

In general, dogs are not allowed in national parks. However, guide dogs and dogs working with Search and Rescue are allowed.

Hunters must have a hunting permit and a dog permit if they want to take hunting dogs.

For dog permits contact:

Nelson Visitor Centre
Phone:      +64 3 546 9339
Address:   Millers Acre/Taha o te Awa
79 Trafalgar Street
Nelson 7010
Email:   nelsonvc@doc.govt.nz
Full office details
Motueka Office
Phone:      +64 3 528 1810
Email:   motueka@doc.govt.nz
Full office details
 or
Takaka Office
Phone:      +64 3 525 8026
Email:   takaka@doc.govt.nz
Full office details

No horses

Horses are not allowed on the Coast Track.

No cycling

Cycling/mountain biking is not allowed on the Coast Track, however, part of the track from the Wainui Car Park to Gibbs Hill Track turn-off can be used by mountain bikers between 1 May and 1 October. The mountain bikers can then continue over Gibbs Hill to Totaranui. Groups need to limit their size to 8 riders and adhere to the Mountain Bikers Care Code.

No mountain biking is allowed on the track from Marahau to Wainui Saddle.

For more information: Gibbs Hill mountain biking

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Maps

DOC maps: Discover the outdoors - DOC's key places, campsites, tracks and huts, and visitor centres on a map

Learn more

Check, Clean, Dry between waterways and stop the spread of didymo.

Walking track categories

Safety

Follow the Outdoor Safety Code:
1. Plan your trip
2. Tell someone
3. Be aware of the weather
4. Know your limits
5. Take sufficient supplies

Alerts for Nelson/Tasman places

Contacts