Totaranui early morning

Image: Samuel Mann | Creative Commons


In the heart of the Abel Tasman National Park, this historic building is an ideal base for schools and other groups.

Accommodation overview


  • Boat
  • Vehicle


  • Sole


  • Bookings

Bookings required


  • Heating - wood
  • Kitchen - fully equipped
  • Shower - hot
  • Toilet - flush


  • Bird and wildlife watching
  • Kayaking and canoeing
  • Swimming

About this lodge


An ideal base for schools, youth and educational groups, to enhance learning about the natural environment.

There are educational resources available, a nature study trail nearby and plenty of beach, estuary and bush walks.

The centre is available to other groups when not in use by schools. It is an ideal venue for sports groups, family reunions and celebrations.

The group booking the facilities has exclusive use during the booking period.


The education centre consists of two buildings: an amenities block and the Ngarata Homestead.


  • Sleeps 40 people in 7 bunkrooms of various sizes.
  • Mattresses are provided.
  • Workroom, lounge and two toilets.
  • Heating is by wood fires. Firewood is provided.
  • All water at Tōtaranui is filtered and safe to drink.
  • Fire alarm system with automatic sprinklers.
  • Laundry.

Amenities block

  • Contains a dining room, toilets and showers, pantry, drying room and kitchen.
  • Heating is provided by a log burner, firewood is provided.
  • The kitchen is well equipped with two commercial stoves, a coal range, microwave, two fridges and a freezer.
  • Cooking utensils are supplied, including pots and pans.
  • A gas barbecue with gas is supplied.
  • Crockery and cutlery is available.


As Tōtaranui has a 2025 goal of zero waste, all rubbish including recycling must be taken out with you. The nearest transfer station is Takaka Resource Recovery Centre at 45 Scott Road, 2.5km before Takaka Township.

We operate a Bokashi composting system which we encourage you to use.

It is the groups' responsibility to leave the homestead clean and tidy.

Getting there

The centre is located at Tōtaranui Campground in the heart of the Abel Tasman National Park.

Tōtaranui is a 32 km drive east of Takaka of which 12 km is on unsealed road.

The gate at the camp entrance is locked overnight.

  • 1 October - 31 March opening times: 7:30 am to 8:30 pm
  • 1 April - 30 September opening times: 7:30 am to 6:30 pm

There are daily water taxi services from Marahau and Kaiteriteri (approx 1–2 hours) and a bus service operates in summer.


Fees are charged per person per night or at the minimum charge, depending on whichever figure is the greatest of the two.

NZ School groups

There is a minimum charge of $280 to use the lodge. School bookings are taken two years in advance and are balloted during the summer holiday period.

  • Adults (over 18 yrs): $17.00 per night.
  • Children (5-17 yrs): $8.50 per night.

Private groups

There is a minimum charge of $450 to use the lodge. Private bookings are taken one year in advance.

  • Adults (over 18 yrs): $35 per night.
  • Children (5-17 yrs): $17.50 per night.
  • Infants (under 5yrs): Free.


Tōtaranui Campground / Totaranui Campground Visitor Centre
Phone:   +64 3 528 8083
Address:   1050 Totaranui Road
Abel Tasman National Park
Postal Address:   PO Box 166

School bookings guidance

School bookings are taken two years in advance, however, the school summer holiday period is balloted due to high demand.

Ballots for school bookings
  • Applications for bookings during the summer holiday period must be submitted by 1 May for the ballot.
  • Ballots are for 7 nights from Friday evening to 11am Friday morning the following week.
  • The ballot will be drawn on the week of 1 June. Successful applicants will be notified the same week.
  • If any of the balloted slots aren’t taken, these slots will be available on a first come first served basis, without the 7 night condition.


  • Bush, native birds, estuary and beach studies.
  • Glow worms, night walks.
  • History study.
  • Bush/survival skills.
  • Swimming and kayaking - the estuary and beach provide opportunities suitable for all ages.

Know before you go

  • Tōtaranui Campground is staffed all year round.
  • Some activities are restricted.
  • On arrival and departure, all groups will be checked in and checked out by the DOC Ranger. 
  • Bring one dollar coins for the washing machines.
  • Bring paper and fire starters for the fires.
  • Two public telephones are located outside the Tōtaranui camp office, there is limited mobile phone coverage.

Activities guidance

Ngarata Homestead and Tōtaranui are in Abel Tasman National Park and are subject to its regulations. Additional rules apply to the homestead and campground. 

Tōtaranui campground rules 3 - 23 apply to groups using Ngarata Homestead. If you have planned activities, read these before booking.


Whakatū / Nelson Visitor Centre
Phone:   +64 3 546 9339
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Address:   Millers Acre/Taha o te Awa
79 Trafalgar Street
Nelson 7010
Postal Address:   Private Bag 5
Nelson 7042
Motueka i-SITE Visitor Information Centre
Phone:   +64 3 528 6543
Address:   20 Wallace Street
Motueka 7120
Postal Address:  
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