Abel Tasman National Park
Located in the Nelson/Tasman region
IntroductionAbel Tasman National Park is renowned for its golden beaches, sculptured granite cliffs, and its world-famous coast track.
Find things to do and places to stay Abel Tasman National Park
Sailing, boating and sea kayaking allows you to access some of the sheltered coves that the track bypasses. Tours and rentals can be arranged locally.
If planning to stop at Adele and Fisherman islands, plan and prepare before you go to ensure you do not accidentally take pests, such as mice, rats, non-native ants and weeds, onto the islands. Tonga Island, a seal breeding colony, is not suitable for public access.
There are two places where you can mountain bike in the park.
The first is on a section of the Moa Park Track, from the Rameka Track turnoff to the Wainui Track turnoff. This track is accessed from the Canaan Downs carpark and can be used year-round, it links with a mountain bike track that is being developed in the adjacent Canaan Downs Scenic Reserve, providing a round-trip. This track is mostly complete though further work is being carried out to improve it. Please note that the Rameka Track can also be used by mountain bikers as it is on unformed legal road, outside of the park.
The second place you can mountain bike is on the Gibbs Hill Track.
Visit Abel Tasman National Monument - it acknowledges the first and only visit by Dutch explorer Abel Tasman to Golden Bay in 1642.
At 22,530 hectares Abel Tasman is New Zealand's smallest national park. It is located at the top of the South Island; the nearest towns are Motueka, Takaka and Kaiteriteri.
Roads lead to Marahau and Totaranui at either end of the coastal track (1.5 and 2.5 hours from Nelson) and provide access to the inland track system.
There are regular and on-demand bus services to the park from local towns and from Nelson as well as a launch and water taxi services.
If you are going to be using the track system in the park for overnight trips, make sure you are properly equipped and well prepared.
Everyone needs to carry a sleeping bag, cooking utensils, sufficient high-energy food (with some extra for emergencies), a waterproof raincoat, and warm (wool or fleece) clothing. A portable stove will also be needed. Firm footwear is recommended but boots are not necessary. Giardia has been found in park waters. Boiling, chemical treatment or filtering can remove it. Check for up-to-date information on weather and track conditions before starting your trip.
The use of hammocks, including "tree hugger" hammocks, is not permitted in campsites on the Abel Tasman Coast Track. Not all campsites have convenient trees to use as the campsites have been designed for placing tents, not hammocks.
Look after the park’s 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.
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. Tonga and Pinnacle islands are specially protected areas with public access by permit only, to protect the seal breeding colonies.
The islands have no non-native mammalian predators – help keep them that way so they remain safe for native wildlife and plants living there.
If planning to visit Adele and Fisherman islands, 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.
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.
Take all rubbish with you when you leave the island.
Dogs are not allowed in the Abel Tasman National Park.
Dogs are not allowed on Tonga, Adele and Fisherman islands including the beach/foreshore.
Dogs are not allowed on the Abel Tasman Foreshore Scenic Reserve (beach area between the mean high water and mean low water mark) between Coquille Bay and Wainui.
Dogs are allowed on the foreshore adjacent to private land (Awaroa and Torrent Bay and Little Anchorage) if under control.
Dogs must be on leashes if taken across the Awaroa Inlet within the Awaroa Vehicle Access Corridor.
The bach owner at Stilwell Bay may exercise their dogs on the foreshore in that location if under control.
Guide dogs permitted in all locations.
Hunting dogs in approved locations with valid permit only.
There have been several reports of people coming onto the Abel Tasman Foreshore with their dogs, unleashed and disturbing nesting birds. This disturbance can cause nests to be abandoned and chicks or eggs to be predated.
If you encounter dogs in the National Park or on the Foreshore not adjacent to private land:
- Take as many details as you can, including photos if safe to do so. Include time, date, description of incident, identifying description of the alleged offender, i.e. boat name, dog tag, known person.
- Boat users, call DOC Vessels Otuwhero or Kina or Harbourmaster (Sentinel) – Dog Control Officer on marine CH16
- Call 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468) (conservation emergency hotline).
Even if we are not able to respond immediately, we are able to follow up these incidents. It is useful for us to know where the pressure points are for further compliance effort.
Whitebaiting is no longer permitted in rivers, streams and tributaries along the Abel Tasman Coast.
The area covered is from Taupō Point to Tinline Stream. View a map of the Whitebait refuge, Abel Tasman National Park (PDF, 709K).
This is in line with the new whitebait fishing regulations released in 2021.
Abel Tasman free smartphone app
This visitor app has the latest information on weather, tides, maps, points of interest, history, plants, wildlife, ecological restoration and walking times in the park. It will work offline in the park and will update itself when in coverage or within range of a hotspot.
Wi-fi hotspots to download the app are at:
- Marahau beachfront, park entrance and campground area
- Anchorage campground and hut
- Torrent Bay village
- Bark Bay hut and campground
- Awaroa village, DOC hut, and car park
- Tōtaranui campground
The app and private wi-fi network are provided by Project Janszoon.
For at least 500 years Maori lived along the Abel Tasman coast, gathering food from the sea, estuaries and forests, and growing kumera on suitable sites. Most occupation was seasonal but some sites in Awaroa estuary were permanent.
The Ngati Tumatakokiri people were resident when, on 18 December 1642, the Dutch seafarer Abel Tasman anchored his two ships near Wainui in Mohua (Golden Bay), the first European to visit Aotearoa - New Zealand. He lost four crew in a skirmish with the local people and soon moved on.
Permanent European settlement began around 1855. The settlers logged forests, built ships, quarried granite and fired the hillsides to create pasture. For a time there was prosperity but soon the easy timber was gone and gorse and bracken invaded the hills. Little now remains of their enterprises.
Concern about the prospect of more logging along the coast prompted a campaign to have 15,000 hectares of crown land made into a national park. A petition presented to the Government suggested Abel Tasman's name for the park and it was duly opened in 1942 - the 300th anniversary of his visit.
|Whakatū / Nelson Visitor Centre|
|Phone:||+64 3 546 9339|
|Fax:||+64 4 471 1117|
Millers Acre/Taha o te Awa
79 Trafalgar Street
Private Bag 5
|Full office details|
|Motueka i-SITE Visitor Information Centre|
|Phone:||+64 3 528 6543|
20 Wallace Street
|Full office details|