Safety information you should consider before commencing your trip.

Your safety is your responsibility. To have a great time in the outdoors, know before you go the five simple rules of the Outdoor Safety Code to help you stay safe:

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

1. Plan your trip

Be sure to consult a tide timetable when planning your trip as the Awaroa estuary area on the track is only passable at low tide.

Check with visitor centres for any track updates and important notices, which report closures or maintenance on huts, campsites, roads and tracks - also listed on Nelson/Tasman alerts

Walking seasons

The Coast Track is open all year. Transport, activity, equipment and accommodation operators are available year round.

All huts and campsites must be booked all year round. See booking information for details.

Chart showing that the number of walkers peaks between December and March.
Chart showing walker numbers peaking between December and March

The chart (at the right) shows the number of walkers on the track between Torrent Bay and Bark Bay. Numbers peak in January with over 250 per day and drop in August to less than 25.

In peak season (October to April), DOC hut wardens and staff are based at the huts and Tōtaranui Camp Office.

In winter, wardens rotate among the huts.

The advantages of visiting the Abel Tasman Coast in the winter include fewer visitors, calmer water, less water traffic such as water-skiers, and hardly any insects.

The main disadvantages are the shorter daylight hours and cooler temperatures.

Track closure

In case of any accident or injury that requires emergency evacuation, contact Police Search and Rescue via Department of Conservation staff or boat transport staff radios.

In the unusual situation of the track being closed (e.g. in case of extreme fire risk), signs will be erected at track entrances and information will be at i-SITES, DOC information centres and on the DOC website. Check the Track Update before you start the track. If the track is closed, a full refund will be given.

2. Tell someone

Before you go into the outdoors, tell someone your plans and leave a date to raise the alarm if you haven't returned. To do this, use the New Zealand Outdoors Intentions process on the AdventureSmart website. It is endorsed by New Zealand's search and rescue agencies and provides three simple options to tell someone you trust the details about your trip.

Fill in the visitors book if you are staying in a hut.

3. Be aware of the weather

The climate is mild with sea breezes, summer droughts and some winter frosts. Rainfall averages 1800mm and the sun shines around 2200 hours per year. During late spring and throughout summer the coast is subject to strong westerly winds, while the autumn and winter months are generally calm.  

Weather information at Tōtaranui
  Max temp ˚C Min temp ˚C Rainy days
July 13 4 11
August 13 5 10
September 15 7 12
October 17 8 9
November 19 10 10
December 21 12 10
January 23 12 6
February 22 13 7
March 21 12 9
April 18 10 8
May 16 7 10
June 14 6 10

The Abel Tasman Coast Track can be walked all year but in winter temperatures are cooler. All huts have heating. Campsites that get good afternoon sun are Anchorage, Bark Bay, Mosquito Bay, Awaroa and Tōtaranui.

4. Know your limits

Challenge yourself within your physical limits and experience.

5. Take sufficient supplies

For a full list check 'What to take'

Cookers and lighting
  • Cookers and lighting are not provided in any of the huts.
  • If you are allergic to wasp stings, take your medication, such as antihistamines, with you.
  • Sandflies are tiny black insects which cause itchy bites.
  • Bring and use insect repellent.

The use of hammocks, including "tree hugger" hammocks, is not permitted in campsites on the Abel Tasman Coast Track.

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