IntroductionA day by day description of the track, track plus information on a number of side trips you can do.
- Discover Cleopatra's Pool – natural rock pool with a moss-lined waterslide.
- Admire the beautiful inlet to Falls River as you walk across a 47 m suspension bridge.
- Keep an eye out for fur seals/kekeno.
- Crystal-clear waters of Tonga Island Marine Reserve.
What to expect
The track is well marked and signposted, but some sections may be steep and rough and the track could be muddy.
There is one compulsory tidal crossing – check the tide tables for when it's safe to cross.
Walk the whole track in either direction, take a water taxi or kayak between different locations.
Places to stay
There are 4 huts and 18 campsites along the Abel Tasman Coast Track, which must be booked in advance all year round. Visitors arriving without a valid booking, or staying at a hut or campsite other than the one named on their ticket, will be charged a penalty fee or may be asked to leave the park.
Note, campsites are designed for tents and are not suitable for hammocks. Campers are not permitted to use hut facilities.
Marahau to Anchorage
Time: 4 hr
Distance: 12.4 km
You’ll begin your journey as you cross the estuary over the Marahau causeway, and follow the track, first through open country, then lush beech forest with large kānuka trees. The track eventually turns inland, winding in and out of several little gullies before emerging to a view of the beautiful Anchorage Bay. Here you’ll descend to Anchorage Hut and Campsite.
Side trip: Tinline Bay Nature Walk
Time: 20 min return
Home to a bizarre tree growing in an unusual place.
Campsites and huts between Marahau and Anchorage
- Tinline Campsite
- Coquille Bay Campsite
- Apple Tree Bay Campsite
- Akersten Bay Campsite
- Watering Cove Campsite
- Observation Beach Campsite
- Te Pukatea Bay Campsite
- Anchorage Campsite
- Anchorage Hut
Anchorage to Bark Bay
High tide track
Time: 4 hr
Distance: 11.5 km
Low tide crossing, Torrent Bay estuary
Time: 3 hr
Distance: 8.4 km
Torrent Bay estuary can be crossed within 2 hours either side of low tide, or you can take the all-tide track around it. An impressive 47-metre long suspension bridge takes you over Falls River. You’ll then meander through lush coastal forest before being led back to the sea and the idyllic golden sands of Bark Bay.
Side trip: Cascade Falls
Time: 1 hr 30 min return
A beautiful waterfall hidden in native bush that’s a great spot to cool off. The track is quite steep in parts.
Side trip: Cleopatra's Pool
This beautiful rock pool with clear cool water is a nice swimming hole.
Campsites and huts between Anchorage and Bark Bay
Bark Bay to Awaroa
Time: 4 hr 30 min
Distance: 13.5 km
Cross the beautiful Bark Bay estuary 2 hours either side of low tide or follow the all-tide track (10 minutes) around the edge of the estuary. A steep climb takes you through stands of mānuka. Return to the coast at Tonga Quarry and it’s a short walk from there to Onetahuti Bay, where one of the longest beaches in the Abel Tasman stretches before you.
The track then leads over the forested Tonga Saddle. At the junction just beyond the saddle, either stay on the main track around and down to Venture Creek, following the path up the hill to a lookout point over Awaroa Bay, before dropping down to walk to Awaroa Campsite and hut. Alternatively, if you need to catch a water taxi, turn right at the junction and take the non-DOC track down to the beach. At low tide, it is possible to follow the beach below the high tide mark around the inlet and wade across to Awaroa Hut and Campsite.
Take care to stay below the high tide mark away from nesting birds.
Campsites and huts between Bark Bay and Awaroa
Awaroa to Whariwharangi Bay
Awaroa to Tōtaranui
Time: 2 hr 20 min
Distance: 7.1 km (tidal)
Tōtaranui to Whariwharangi Bay
Time: 3 hr 15 min
Distance: 9.8 km
Awaroa Inlet can only be crossed within 1 hour 30 minutes before and 2 hours after low tide. Along the track, the scenery alternates between sandy beaches and rocky headlands of regenerating kānuka. Camp or stay in the cosy and historic Whariwharangi Hut (a former homestead built around 1896) just behind the beach.
Campsites and huts between Awaroa and Wainui
- Waiharakeke Bay Campsite
- Tōtaranui Great Walk Campsite
- Anapai Bay Campsite
- Mutton Cove Campsite
- Whariwharangi Bay Campsite
- Whariwharangi Bay Hut
Whariwharangi Bay to Wainui
Time: 2 hr
Distance: 5.7 km
Follow a trickling stream and climb above the bay to a saddle overlooking the serene Wainui Inlet. The inlet is a great place to swim or to explore rock pools. The track winds down to the shore and follows the estuary edge to the car park.
Whariwharangi Bay to Tōtaranui
Time: 3 hr
Distance: 9 km
From Whariwharangi Hut follow a small stream, then climb out of the bay to a low saddle overlooking Wainui Inlet. At this point take a left turn onto the Gibbs Hill Track. This track will take you over the steep Gibbs Hill then back down to Tōtaranui.
From Tōtaranui you can get a water taxi back to Mārahau, ensure you allow enough time to walk to Totaranui. Refer to your water taxi provider for their pick up and drop off locations and timetable.
Note this is a shared-use track. Mountain biking Wainui – Gibbs Hill – Tōtaranui is allowed from 1 May to 30 September at any time of the day. There is a maximum group size of eight riders.