Awaroa Inlet, Totaranui

Image: Brian Ralphs | Creative Commons


Find out about the short and medium length walks around Tōtaranui.

Track overview

Dog access

No dogs

About this track


Pukatea walk

Time: 30 min
Distance: 0.8 km

The Pukatea Walk is a short botanical ramble through a variety of plant associations and will take you no more than 30 minutes to complete.

The walk leaves the Coast Track at the bottom of Anapai Hill and at first runs through a kānuka/gorse shrubland typical of local abandoned farmland.

Next follows a curving boardwalk through a raupō swamp, then a dry ridge forest of beech trees, and on into magnificent pukatea forest with glades of tall nīkau palms and the occasional massive rātā trees and tall black mamaku treeferns.

The walk ends on a promise for the future - under tall kānuka forest are dense thickets of pukatea, rimu and kahikatea, pointing to the time some decades ahead when traces of last century’s destruction will slowly fade from the landscape. 

Headlands Track

Time: 1 hr
Distance: 1.6 km

Like other walks in the Tōtaranui area, Headlands Track is largely an introduction to dramatic changes in vegetation as fertility, slope, aspect and damage from past fires all have some influence on the state of the present plant cover.

Extensive die-back of beech trees has now resulted in dense pockets of regeneration, particularly along infertile ridges where drought stress on the vegetation can be severe. On better soils the forest grows taller and beech is joined by northern rātā, massive and intertwined.

There are lovely views of Tōtaranui from various places along the ridges.

Anapai Bay

Time: 2 hr return
Distance: 4.2 km

The way to Anapai is simply the first section of the Coast Track heading north towards Separation Point/Te Matau.

Again there are sharp contrasts in vegetation between dry ridgecrest kānuka associations and the lush valley forest seen on the gentle descent into Anapai Bay.

Anapai is one of the National Park’s loveliest bays, its beach divided into two by rock outcrops with considerable contrast of shapes between the harder rock at the northern end of the beach, and the softer, more deeply weathered granite to the south.

An easy one-hour walk from the Tōtaranui camp office to Anapai.

Gibbs Hill to Whariwharangi

Time: 5 hr 30 min return
Distance: 18.3 km

All tracks to Gibbs Hill from Tōtaranui, Pigeon Saddle or the Coast Track above Wainui Bay are first and foremost fire access routes. For the most part they cross either open country or arid, scruffy, gorse/mānuka regeneration.

Views along the ridgeline tracks are superb; from Nelson round to D’Urville Island to Farewell Spit (with Mt Taranaki on clear winter days) and Golden Bay.

The Gibbs Hill Track is useful for those doing a day trip to Whariwharangi who prefer to take different routes out and back (note: there is no water anywhere along these ridges, and anyone travelling from Tōtaranui to Whariwharangi or Awapoto Hut via Gibbs Hill will not find water until they reach these destinations).

Allow about 1 hr 30 min for the steep climb to the hill top and a further hour down to Whariwharangi Bay.

Allow 3 hours from Whariwharangi to Tōtaranui along the Coast Track.

Goat Bay to Waiharakeke

Time: 1 hr 40 min return
Distance: 6.8 km

From Tōtaranui the Coast Track wanders south through tall, airy forests of kānuka. It is only a few minutes to Skinner Point where there is a wonderful view of Tōtaranui Beach and the coast south to Awaroa and Awaroa Head.

The 10-minute walk along Goat Bay beach can be a little tiresome when the tide is in and the sand is soft, but there is more than adequate reward in the panorama of rātā forest, sea-smoothed granite rock and noisy waves.

If it takes you about 20 minutes to get to Goat Bay, it will take you another 30, at most, to Waiharakeke.

Instead of forested hills, this pleasant beach runs back into a large swamp which is slowly reverting to kahikatea and pukatea forest. A century ago, Waiharakeke boasted a sawmill and a logging railway; now it is one of the coast’s quiet places.

Tōtaranui to Awaroa Bay

Time: 2 hr
Distance: 7 km (tidal)

Before you start check when it’s low tide! Awaroa Inlet and Venture Creek must only be crossed close to low tide and definitely only crossed up to one and a half hours before low tide and up to two hours after it.

Following heavy rain the inlet may be impassable. If you plan to return to Tōtaranui by water taxi, make your booking before you start the walk.

From Tōtaranui follow the Abel Tasman Coast Track to Awaroa Hut. From here follow the track through the village to Venture Creek. Cross here and follow the edge of the estuary to Awaroa Bay beach. If you are returning to Tōtaranui by water taxi this departs from the southern end of Awaroa Bay.

Getting there

Know before you go


Wasps: Wasps are a possible hazard and are more common from December until April. Carry antihistamine if you are allergic to their stings.

Carry a day-pack with a parka, sunhat, sunscreen, drink and a jersey. You will need lunch if you are going up to Gibbs Hill.


Day visitors must take out their own rubbish.


Giardia has been found in some park waters. It can be removed from drinking water by boiling, filtering or chemical treatment. All tap water at Tōtaranui is filtered.


Check tides at the Tōtaranui camp office.


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
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