Category: Abel Tasman Coast Track

Abel Tasman Coast Track Packing List

Over the course of its 60 glorious kilometers, the Abel Tasman Coast Track passes through verdant hillsides, pristine beaches, coastal bush, and rich forest. It’s easy to see why this…

Over the course of its 60 glorious kilometers, the Abel Tasman Coast Track passes through verdant hillsides, pristine beaches, coastal bush, and rich forest. It’s easy to see why this is one of New Zealand’s most beloved Great Walks. While the diversity of sights and landscapes certainly adds to the richness of the experience, it can make packing pretty challenging!

You’ll need to be prepared for all sorts of weather, and well as some challenging hills and muddy conditions on the Abel Tasman Coast Track. At the same time, carrying too big a rucksack will undoubtedly take away from the enjoyment of your trek.

So how does one strike that elusive balance between having all of the necessities without feeling like they have a baby elephant on their back? Read on for our best advice and detailed kit lists to learn everything you need (and what you don’t need) to have your best possible Abel Tasman walking adventure!

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View of cliffs and shoreline on the Abel Tasman Coast Track
The Abel Tasman Coast Track crosses a variety of rugged and beautiful coastal landscapes.

Packing Basics for the Abel Tasman Track

There are so many variables when it comes to packing for the Abel Tasman Coast Track, such as your accommodation type, hiking style, trip length, baggage transfers, time of year, and many more. Every hiker will have a unique kit to best serve their individual needs. Despite all of those factors, there are some universal rules that all hikers should follow when putting together their kit for the Abel Tasman Coast Track.

How Much Should My Pack Weigh?

This isn’t easy to answer, since there are a ton of factors that influence how much is too much for any individual hiker. Some things to think about…

  • How fast are you hoping to hike? Generally speaking, lighter=faster
  • Have you completed a multi-day through hike with this specific backpack and this amount of weight before? 
  • Are you injury-prone or do you have any chronic knee, hip, or back issues? 

As a very general rule, campers should keep their pack weight below 13kg, including food and water. Those staying indoors should carry no more than 9kg. If having your luggage transferred along the trail, most transfer services will limit you to 20kg, and your daypack shouldn’t exceed 4kg. If you are backpacking for the first time or have a chronic injury, the weight of your pack should be significantly less than these guidelines.

Generally speaking, less is more. Here’s a few tips for lightening your load:

  1. You only need a couple of shirts. Same goes for underwear and socks. Bring quick-dry items that you can rinse out in the sink or shower.
  2. Plan out when/where you’ll restock food provisions and don’t carry more food than you need.
  3. Consider leaving your bulky camera equipment at home. Unless photography is your passion, most smartphones take great photos and save a ton of space and weight.
Backpacking backpack
The type of pack you’ll need for the Abel Tasman Coast Track will depend on your individual itinerary.

Choosing a backpack for the Abel Tasman Coast Track

Just like with footwear, a properly fitting backpack is crucial on the Abel Tasman Coast Track. Also similar to your boots, your pack needs to be broken in for optimal comfort. We recommend carrying a weighted pack on your training walks to get used to the extra weight and ensure it fits well.

If you plan on staying in the Department of Conservation (DoC) huts along the route, you’ll to carry a sleeping bag and cooking gear. A 30-50L pack will be more than enough space for everything you need.

If you plan on camping, you’ll need a larger pack to fit your tent and sleeping pad in addition to your basic supplies. A 45-60L pack will be suitable for most campers.

Last but not least, don’t forget to bring a pack cover to protect against rain! Many newer packs come with one built-in.

Read More: The Complete Guide to the Abel Tasman Coast Track

Coast to Coast Walk hiking boots
Footwear on the Abel Tasman Coast Track comes down to personal preference and fit, but always break in new boots ahead of time!

Footwear on the Abel Tasman Coast Track

The Abel Coast Track covers a variety of terrain, but it’s not too technical or rugged. Hiking boots, hiking shoes, and trail running shoes will all work for the Abel Coast Track, provided that they will work for your unique needs. The most important thing is that they’re adequately broken in and that you’ve tested them on multiple walks to ensure they are comfortable. You’ll likely need to go up half a size to account for thicker socks and/or swollen feet. Some people may prefer the ankle support of traditional hiking boots, while others may seek out the cushion and breathability of trail shoes. Again, it’s all about trying a variety of options and finding the best one for you.

Waterproof boots or shoes can be a good idea, considering you’ll likely face rainy, wet, and muddy conditions at some point on the trail.

Good socks are also a game-changer on the Abel Tasman Coast Track. We love merino wool socks like these for their comfort, breathability, and anti-stink qualities.

If you’re blister-prone, consider trying toe sockssock liners, and/or body glide.

If you need more underfoot padding, try using socks with extra cushioning or even some custom insoles.

Finally, make sure you also bring sandals or water shoes for beach walks and tidal crossings.

Boat on the Awaroa Inlet
You’ll have to wait until low-tide to cross the Awaroa Inlet.

Good Waterproofs

There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad rain gear! Even if you’re hiking in the drier summer months, it is likely that you’ll experience wet weather at some point along your journey. Having the appropriate gear will make all the difference when it comes to enjoying your trip to the fullest. Bonus: waterproof outer layers will also serve as great protection against the infamous westerly winds that can blow along the Kiwi coast.

At the very minimum, make sure you have a lightweight rain jacket and a pack cover. Some hikers pack their clothing and other items inside trash bags or waterproof packing cubes as an extra precaution. A hat can be nice to keep the rain (or sun) out of your face. And a waterproof carrying case for your map and/or phone isn’t a bad idea either.

Cloudy day in Abel Tasman National Park
With the right waterproofs, you don’t need to worry about wet weather on the horizon!

Read More: Abel Tasman Coast Track | Maps & Routes

Personal Gear

Whether you’re camping or staying indoors, these items are must-haves for your Abel Tasman Coast Track packing list. While we’ve included some toiletries that are absolutely essential for this trek, we’ve left it up to you to determine your own list of additional self-care items (comb, toothbrush, prescription medication, etc). 

Most Valuable Personal Item: Platypus Big Zip Hydration Bladder

With its variable temperatures and high humidity, it is imperative to stay well-hydrated while trekking the Abel Tasman Coast Track. Traditional water bottles can be bulky and inconvenient, which is why we love hydration bladders like this one! Fill it up once in the morning and you won’t have to worry about finding water for the remainder of the day. The bladder distributes weight evenly against your back and the design is leak-proof and easy to clean.

ItemOur RecommendationWhy We Love It
Multi-ToolGerber Dime Multi-ToolPerfect for cutting cheese or opening cans when you need some trail-side snacks!
First Aid KitAdventure Medical Kits Ultralight Watertight KitA good backpacking first aid kit is essential. You hope to never have to use it, but will be glad you have it when you need it. We like the labeled compartments and waterproof case on this one.
Hydration BladderPlatypus Big ZipWay easier than a water bottle! We suggest carrying a 3-liter version.
Pack CoverSea to Summit Ultra-Sil Rain CoverThis is a truly essential piece of gear given how hard it can rain on the Abel Tasman Coast Track! This one has an extra strap that keeps it in place on windy days.
Men’s BackpackOsprey Atmos AG 65While backpacks are a very personal item, we think Osprey makes the most comfortable packs on the market. This 65L model will work for both campers or those staying indoors.
Women’s BackpackOsprey Aura AG 65One of our favorite features of Osprey packs is the ‘anti-gravity’ mesh. So comfortable!
Trekking PolesBlack Diamond Alpine FlzThese can help take the load off your knees and they’re great on steep sections.
Travel TowelSea to Summit Airlite Travel TowelGreat to have for the beach or washing up.
Headlamp/ Head torchBlack Diamond SpotGreat headtorch with long battery life and adjustable brightness.
Dry BagsOsprey UL Packing Cube SetKeeps your clothes and other items dry in a downpour! These are also great for keeping your kit organized and packed efficiently.
Hiking GaitersOutdoor Research Ankle GaitersOptional. These will help keep your boots dry when walking on muddy or boggy trails and they’ll keep out stones, dirt, and gravel.
SunscreenWe recommend a waterproof sport version with SPF 30 or higher.
Bug SprayBen’s Insect RepellentYou’ll be glad you brought this when the mozzies or midges come out.
Toilet Paper and TrowelThe TentLab Ultralight TrowelAs any hiker will tell you, it’s always better to be prepared and Leave No Trace!
Booking ConfirmationsIt’s a good idea to have printed copies of all of your reservations.
A section of trail on the Coast Track.
You can expect well maintained trails and easy walking on the Abel Tasman Coast Track.

Miscellaneous Gear

These odds and ends are the unsung heroes of any Abel Tasman Coast Track packing list. From getting your stinky shirt clean to keeping your phone charged, these items help your trek run smoothly. Make sure to use this list in addition to the other categories to complete your Abel Tasman kit. 

Most valuable miscellaneous gear: Anker Powercore 10000.

Chances are, you’re getting out on the trail to get a break from the constant demands of screens and that’s wonderful. However, don’t underestimate the importance of having a charged cell phone on the Abel Tasman Coast Track. Your phone can be your navigational device, your camera, your guidebook, and your notepad all in one. The route can be a bit unclear at times, and charging opportunities are virtually nonexistent so a battery backup can be an absolute lifesaver. This one is dependable, relatively small, and can fully charge your phone 1.5-2 times between charges. Check it out here:

ItemOur ReccommendationWhy We Love It
Ear PlugsMack’s Ear PlugsEssential for a good night’s sleep! We find the silicone ones to stay in place and block out noise best.
Sleeping MaskAlaska BearPerfect to block out light while sleeping in huts or campgrounds on the Abel Tasman Coast Track.
Travel AdapterMintong All in One USB Travel AdapterIf you’re coming from abroad, this is going to be necessary. This one is super compact and the two USB ports are very handy!
Digital WatchCasio Classic Sport WatchWe recommend a simple digital watch to keep track of hiking times. This one is a great value and nearly indestructible.
CameraSony Alpha a6000Optional, but this compact camera takes beautiful photos and is easy to use.
Battery BackupAnker Powercore 10,000Great for charging electronics when you don’t have access to an outlet.
Biodegradable SoapCampsuds Biodegradable SoapPerfect for doing the dishes or washing a few clothing items.
Plastic Bags- quart, gallon, and garbage bags.We used these constantly for everything from storing trail mix to keeping our sleeping bags dry. A must-have for backpacking. They can be repurposed many times to minimize plastic waste.
FoodYou won’t be able to purchase any food along the trail, so it is essential that you pack everything you’ll need (plus a little extra).
A woman walks along the beach on the Abel Tasman Coast Track

Women’s Clothing

When you’re wearing the same clothes for several days straight in various weather conditions and while doing some serious walking, it is imperative that those clothes are comfortable and high quality.  Although your individual preferences may look a little different, this list is an excellent starting point to ensure you’ve got all the essentials for your Abel Tasman Coast Track Walk.

Emily’s most valuable clothing item: Icebreaker Tech Lite Merino Wool T-Shirt

It’s easy to pack light when you have anti-stink, quick-drying, and endlessly comfortable gear like this merino wool tee. In the humid conditions on the Abel Tasman, you’ll appreciate how this shirt wicks moisture and stays comfy all day long. Check it out here:

ItemOur RecommendationWhy We Love It
Underwear (2-3 pairs)ExOfficio Give-N-Go SportThese are worth every penny when it comes to staying comfortable on the trail. They are quick-drying and antimicrobial meaning you can just bring a few pairs and wash them in the sink as you go.
Socks (2-3 pairs)Darn Tough Micro Crew SocksIn our opinion, these are the best hiking socks available. Your feet will thank you!
Sports Bra (1)Under Armour Mid Crossback This is a good example of something breathable and comfortable that you can wear all day.
Long Sleeve Base Layer (1)Smartwool 150 Base LayerA great merino wool base layer for chilly mornings or whenever the sand flies come out.

Short Sleeve Hiking Shirts (1-2)Icebreaker Tech Lite T-ShirtMerino wool is perfect for backpacking. Lightweight, quick-drying, and odor resistant.
Leggings or hiking pants (1)PrAna Halle PantStylish, lightweight, and great to hike in.
Shorts (1)The North Face Paramount ShortThese shorts are super versatile and durable! The fabric has just the right amount of stretch and the pockets are really handy.
Rain JacketMarmot PreCip Eco JacketA high-quality all-weather jacket that packs up small.
Hiking BootsKeen Targhee Mid Height Hiking BootEmily has had these boots for five years and hundreds of muddy, snowy hikes, and they are still going strong!
SunglassesSuncloud Polarised SunglassesGood quality sunglasses are essential when you’re outside all day. And these are stylish too!
Underwire/Standard BraAfter a long day of hiking in a sweaty sports bra this can be a welcome relief to change into.
HatColumbia Bora Bora Booney HatHelps keep both the sun and rain off your face.

Sandals/Camp Shoes Crocs Classic ClogGreat to change into after a long day of walking!
BandanaLevi BandanaI used this for everything from a towel to extra sun protection.
Kayakers in Abel Tasman National Park

Men’s Clothing

When you’re wearing the same clothes for several days in various weather conditions and while doing some serious trekking, it is imperative that those clothes are comfortable and high quality.  Although your individual preferences may look a little different, this list is an excellent starting point to ensure you’ve got all the essentials for your Abel Tasman adventure.

Ian’s most valuable clothing item: Darn Tough Merino Wool Socks

The conditions on the Abel Tasman Coast Track are such that hikers are at a particularly high risk of getting blisters at some point on their walk. The wet environments and stony paths conspire to create the perfect environment for blisters to sabotage your walk. Fortunately, a good pair of socks can greatly reduce your chance of foot issues. This is one of those times where you really do get what you pay for. We love Darn Tough socks because they keep our feet dry and comfortable in a variety of conditions. They have just the right amount of cushion without being too bulky in boots. Plus, the Merino wool keeps them smelling fresh for days. Check them out here:

ItemOur ReccommendationWhy We Love It
Underwear (2-3 pairs)ExOfficio Give-N-Go Sport Boxer BriefHighly recommended! You can bring just 2-3 pairs and wash them easily in sinks or showers. A must!
Socks (2-3 pairs)Darn Tough Hiking Socks In our opinion, these are the best hiking socks available. Your feet will thank you!
Long Sleeve Base Layer (1)Columbia Thistletown Park Long SleeveThis is a very versatile baselayer that works great under an outer layer or on its own.

Short Sleeve Hiking Shirts (1-2)Icebreaker Tech Lite T-ShirtMerino wool is perfect for backpacking. Lightweight, quick-drying, and odor resistant.
Hiking Pants (1 pair)The North Face Paramount Convertible TrousersThese are great for hiking and also look great walking around town!
Hiking Shorts (1 pair)Columbia Silver Ridge Cargo ShortsYou can skip these if you’re using our recommended convertible trousers, but it can be nice to have an extra set of bottoms. These are so packable that you really can’t go wrong!
Rain Jacket Marmot Precip JacketUnlike many lightweight rain jackets. this one will actually keep you dry during long days on the trail.
HatColumbia Bora Bora Booney HatHelps keep both the sun and rain off your face.
Sandals/Camp ShoesCrocs Classic ClogSuper nice to change into after walking in boots all day! These are also good for sand and water crossings.
Hiking BootsSalomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTXVery comfortable and super waterproof!
SunglassesSuncloud Polarized SunglassesGood quality sunglasses are essential when you’re in outdoors all day. And these are stylish too!
BandanaLevi’s BandanaThis can be used for everything from a towel to extra sun protection.
Abel Tasman Coast Track packing list
Campers will need to bring a bit more on the Coast Track.

Camping Gear

Camping on the Abel Tasman Coast Track is definitely worth carrying the bigger backpack. Campgrounds are plentiful (although you do need to book ahead), and there’s no better way to immerse yourself in the great outdoors than sleeping under the stars. With the right gear and a manageable pack size, you are guaranteed to have an amazing experience conquering the Abel Tasman with your own tent.

Most valuable camping gear: Nemo Tensor Ultralite Sleeping Pad

We all know how important a good night’s sleep is, especially when you’re putting your body through the demands of a multi-day trek. However, it can be so hard to get comfortable when you’re sleeping in a tent. Thankfully, this Nemo sleeping pad changes all of that. It’s nice and thick, meaning it even works for side sleepers! Plus, it is very lightweight, packable, and easy to inflate. It’s a total game-changer.

ItemOur RecommendationWhy We Love It
TentMSR Hubba Hubba NX Backpacking TentThis is the best designed tent on the market. The genius freestanding rain cover allows you to pack up all of your gear and tent while still being sheltered- perfect for rainy mornings!
Sleeping BagMarmot Trestles 30 Sleeping BagSuper compact, light, and cozy, this bag is a great value. If you’re walking in the summer months, you should only need the 30-degree version.
Sleeping PadNemo Tensor Ultralight Camping PadIf you are a side sleeper this is a must! Even if you’re not, this is one of the most lightweight and comfortable sleeping pads out there. The pump sack makes inflating it a breeze, too!
PillowTherm-a-Rest Compressible PillowNot 100% necessary, but a small luxury that is definitely worth carrying in your pack.
Stove+FuelMSR Pocket RocketIan has used this stove for nearly a decade and highly recommends it!
Backpacking PotGSI Outdoors Halulite BoilerThis versatile and high-quality pot is the perfect size for anything from boiling water to making porridge.
Plate/Bowl/MugMSR 2-Person Mess KitWe find this bowl and mug combo to be light, durable, and perfect for camp dinners.
UtensilHumangear SporkThe only utensil you’ll need!
Advance reservations are required for all huts and campsites along the Coast Track.

Hut Gear

Even if you choose to sleep indoors on your Abel Tasman trek, there are some essential items you’ll need to make sure you pack. The huts are typically quite basic, and most do not have lighting nor cooking stoves. At a minimum, hikers staying in huts should bring a sleeping bag, cookset, headlamp, and all of their own food.

Most valuable camping gear: MSR 2-Person Mess Kit

One of the benefits of sleeping in huts is that you can carry a smaller rucksack. However, it’s a little trickier to pack light on the Abel Tasman when you need to carry your own cooking gear. This MSR Kit is super lightweight, easy to pack, and convenient for all of those al fresco dinners and trailside coffee breaks.

ItemOur RecommendationWhy We Love It
Sleeping BagMarmot Trestles 30 Sleeping BagSuper compact, light, and cozy, this bag is a great value. If you’re walking in the summer months, you should only need the 30-degree version.
PillowTherm-a-Rest Compressible PillowNot 100% necessary, but a small luxury that is definitely worth carrying in your pack.
Stove+FuelMSR Pocket RocketIan has used this stove for nearly a decade and highly recommends it!
Backpacking PotGSI Outdoors Halulite BoilerThis versatile and high-quality pot is the perfect size for anything from boiling water to making porridge.
Plate/Bowl/MugMSR 2-Person Mess KitWe find this bowl and mug combo to be light, durable, and perfect for camp dinners.
UtensilHumangear SporkThe only utensil you’ll need!
Eye MaskAlaska BearPerfect to block out light while sleeping in dormitories.
EarplugsMack’s Ear PlugsThe best defense for that snorer next door!
Sunset on the Abel Tasman Coast Track

Conclusion

The Abel Tasman Coast Track, with its rugged shoreline, spectacular beaches, and unique scenery, is certainly one of New Zealand’s most memorable walks. While it’s definitely manageable for walkers of all ability levels, it’s not without its challenges. By putting together a smart kit, you’ll get to focus your energy on the good kinds of challenges (like climbing a steep hill or covering vast distances), and avoid the less fun types of challenges (getting soaked in a downpour or dealing with blisters). The gear choose to pack (and leave behind) will be essential in ensuring that you have everything you need to stay comfortable, prepared, and injury-free without carrying a bigger rucksack than needed. Happy trails!

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Abel Tasman Coast Track | Maps & Routes

The Abel Tasman Coast Track is New Zealand’s most popular Great Walk and a true classic. One of the more approachable Great Walks, the Coast Track follows the spectacular coastline…

The Abel Tasman Coast Track is New Zealand’s most popular Great Walk and a true classic. One of the more approachable Great Walks, the Coast Track follows the spectacular coastline of Abel Tasman National Park with stunning beaches and beautiful scenery throughout.

The walk is well serviced by a network of Department of Conservation huts and campsites, as well as a few privately run accommodation options. We think this is a great trek for the first-time tramper all the way up to the most experienced backpackers out there.

This post will provide an introduction to the incredible Abel Tasman Coast Track by providing in-depth maps, navigational resources, and much more!

Let’s get started.

In this post

Anchorage Bay, New Zealand

 

Where is the Abel Tasman Coast Track?

The Abel Tasman Coast Track is located in the northwest corner of New Zealand’s South Island. The walk begins just outside the small town of Marahau and finishes in Wainui. However, many walkers do not finish at Wainui, opting instead to finish at Totaranui given its better transportation connections back to Marahau.

Overview map of the Abel Tasman Coast Track

The Coast Track is located in the far north of New Zealand’s South Island.

 

Getting to Marahau from the rest of New Zealand is generally a straightforward affair as a result of the popularity of the walk. Bus services connect the town of Nelson to Marahau multiple times per day during the peak season from December – March.

For the return trip upon completing the walk, we recommend taking a water-taxi from Totaranui back to Marahau and catching an onward bus from there. 

Find complete details on getting to and from the Coast Track here.

Between the start and finish points, the Abel Tasman Coast Track provides some of the best walking in New Zealand. The highlight is certainly the golden beaches and crystal clear waters that this section of the country is famous for. Yet don’t overlook the beautiful rainforest and unique tidal estuaries that complement the beach views of the Coast Track.

The route is incredibly well served with a huge array of accommodation options. This includes four Department of Conservation huts and 19 campsites. In addition, there are several private lodges along the walk that offer a more luxurious experience. There is even a floating backpacker’s hostel!

Given that the Coast Track is the most popular Great Walk advance bookings for the the huts and campsites is essential. 

Get complete details on accommodation on the Coast Track here.

The route is typically completed over five days, although countless alternative itineraries exist. Below is the standard itinerary for the Abel Tasman Coast Track:

  • Stage 1: Marahau to Anchorage
  • Stage 2: Anchorage to Bark Bay
  • Stage 3: Bark Bay to Awaroa Bay
  • Stage 4: Awaroa Bay to Whariwharangi
  • Stage 5: Whariwharangi to Totaranui (via Gibbs Hill Track)

See the map below for additional detail:

Map of the Abel Tasman Coast Track.

Map of the Abel Tasman Coast Track. Click to enlarge.

 

In addition the main route, there are a few alternate routes that trampers can choose to complete. These include short detours to see stunning waterfalls, or the alternate finish in Wainui.

In addition, there are some portions of the route that will only be walkable during low tide.

This include the Awaroa Inlet, which is only passable between 1.5 hours before and 2 hours after low tide. At Torrent Bay, just past the Anchorage Hut, you can only be cross the bay within two hours of low-tide. Fortunately, there is a high-tide track that circumnavigates the bay and allows walkers to cross at anytime.

Learn more about tides on the Coast Track in our Complete Guide here.

 

Interactive Abel Tasman Coast Track map

The interactive Abel Tasman Coast Track map below will allow you to zoom in on the various stages as well as view the traditional stops along the route.

 

How long is the Coast Track?

The official Department of Conservation website lists the Coast Track as 60 kilometers long. However, in reality it will vary greatly depending on a number of decisions and factors, as described below.

The two most common ways to complete the Abel Tasman Coast track involve either finishing in Totaranui by taking the Gibbs Hill track at the end of the walk, or by finishing in the Wainui car park.

For those who opt to finish in Totaranui, we measure the walk to be 62 kilometers long. If you opt instead to finish at the Wainui car park, plan on 58 kilometers.

Of course, measuring the exact distance of the walk has very little practical value as you’ll certainly end up walking a bit further than any exact distance we provide. Evening explorations to stretch the legs, countless opportunities to take in view points along the walk, and short trips to trail-side waterfalls will make the distance actually walked vary from person to person.

However, it is still helpful to have an idea of the distance of each stage of the Coast Track. The map below shows just that, with the approximate distances of each stage provided. The distances are calculated based on the classic itinerary outlined above.

Read More: Abel Tasman Coast Track Packing List

Map of the Abel Tasman Coast Track with stage distances

Distances for the traditional five stages of the Coast Track. Click to enlarge.

 

Abel Tasman Coast Track Elevation Profile

At its core, the Abel Tasman Coast Track is a mellow coastal walk. Famous for being able to be walked in running shoes, the route is approachable for even the newest trampers out there. However, it is still important to have a sense of what you’re getting yourself into in terms of elevation and distance.

Over the course the Coast Track’s five stages you’ll gain (and lose) just under 2,000 meters in total elevation. This averages out to about 400 meters per day, although as you can see below most of this occurs on the Gibbs Hill Track. While Gibbs Hill is the high point of the walk, you shouldn’t underestimate the undulating nature of the path as it winds along the coast. It can still be tiring!

We’ve put together the elevation profile for the Abel Tasman Coast Track below to help you gain and understanding of the various stages and plan your own walk. Elevation is shown on the left side while distance is shown on the bottom. Each blue dot represents one of the Department of Conservation Huts/Campsites along the route. For instance, you can see that the stage from Awaroa Bay to Whariwharangi covers quite a bit of distance, while the final stage from Whariwharangi to Totaranui (via Gibbs Hill Track) has a lot of elevation gain.

You can use the elevation profile below to help plan your own itinerary for the Abel Tasman Coast Track, taking into account distance and elevation between any two stopping points.

Elevation profile of the Abel Tasman Coast Track.

Elevation profile of the Abel Tasman Coast Track.

 

Which maps should I carry on the Coast Track?

As with all the Great Walks, the Abel Tasman Coast Track is a well marked and easy to follow trail. Given the number of hikers, clear path, and good signage, there will be little opportunity to take a wrong turn. However, we always recommend carrying a physical map with you on any tramping trip. 

The best physical map to bring on the Coast Track is the NewTopo Abel Tasman Topographic map. This map covers the tramp at a 1:40,000 scale and also includes the nearby Inland Track, which traverses less frequented parts of the national park.

Given that you are more likely than not to experience at least some rain on your walk, we also recommend bringing a waterproof carrying case like this one.

Beyond just a physical map, we highly recommend all hikers along the Coast Track have some type of GPS navigation on their trek.

Since there is limited cell phone service on the Abel Tasman Coast Track, it is very important to have a good offline mapping app, such as Gaia GPS, to ensure you’ll be able to access your location along the walk.

These apps combined with our Abel Tasman GPS digital download should give you a solid foundation to navigate from while on the tramp.

Stage-by-stage maps for the Abel Tasman Coast Track

We typically include stage-by-stage maps for all the walks and hikes we feature in our mapping articles. However, we’ve already covered that (and more!) in our complete guide to the Abel Tasman Coast Track. Check it out below:

TMBtent Guide to the Abel Tasman Coast Track

 

 

Abel Tasman Coast Track GPS/GPX

If you’re interested in getting access to the GPS data used to create all of the maps in this post, we are happy to offer our Abel Tasman Coast Track GPX file for only $4.99.

When you download the GPX file, you’ll get route data for each stage of the Coast Track, way-points for each of the Department of Conservation huts along the route, as well as alternate routes along the walk.

You’ll be able to load the GPX file into the mapping software or GPS phone app of your choice!

Click here to purchase the Abel Tasman Coast Track GPS files

Apps and offline mapping

As mentioned above we utilized offline downloadable GPS maps on our smartphones to navigate while walking the Abel Tasman Coast Track.

This is a great way to navigate on the trail as it allows you to see your progress for the day and also doesn’t require a cell phone signal (which you likely won’t have) to display the map.

Our How to Navigate on the Tour du Mont Blanc post has all the information you need to get set up using an app for your map. Although written for a different hike, this step-by-step article will teach you how to quickly and easily turn your phone into a GPS device for the Coast Track.

Have a great Coast Track Adventure!

We hope this post has given you all the information you need to get a basic overview of the Abel Tasman Coast Track. Let us know your questions or comments below. Happy trails!

Water taxis in Bark Bay

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Abel Tasman Coast Track: The Complete Guide

The Abel Tasman Coast Track is one of New Zealand’s 10 Great Walks, treks that are designed to showcase the best of this stunning country. The Coast Track highlights the…

The Abel Tasman Coast Track is one of New Zealand’s 10 Great Walks, treks that are designed to showcase the best of this stunning country. The Coast Track highlights the incredible beaches, tropical forests, and turquoise waters of the Abel Tasman National Park on the northwest corner of New Zealand’s South Island. Over 60+ kilometers, the Abel Tasman Coast Track follows the often rugged coastline and is serviced by a series of Department of Conservation huts and campsites along the route. The track is the easiest of all the Great Walks due to its easy grades, well maintained trail, and ease of access.

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know to plan your perfect adventure on the Abel Tasman Coast Track!

Map of the Abel Tasman Coast Track

The Abel Tasman Coast Track covers 60+ km from Marahau to Wainui.

 

Abel Tasman Coast Track: In this post

Abel Tasman Coast Track: Must Know

The Abel Tasman Coast Track is the most popular of the Great Walks. It follows the shoreline from the car park just north of the town of Marahau to its end point at Wainui. However, due to the lack of transportation options at Wainui, many walkers opt to finish at Totaranui by completing the Gibbs Hill track at the end of the walk. Completing the entire walk will take you along 60+ kilometers of this beautiful coastline with overnight accommodation options frequent along the walk. Keep reading below for some essential information as you begin to plan your Abel Tasman Coast Track adventure!

Beach along the Abel Tasman Coast Track

You’ll visit countless stunning beaches along your walk.

 

How long is the Coast Track?

The short answer: it depends!

In general, trampers should expect to cover around 60 kilometers on the Abel Tasman Coast Track. This will of course vary depending on your chosen itinerary, if you’re able to take low-tide routes, side trips to see points of interest, and countless other factors. However, we’ve provided some general distances for planning purposes below:

  • For those completing the Coast Track in its entirety and finishing at the Wainui car park you’ll cover approximately 58 kilometers.
  • If opt to complete the Gibbs Hill Track to connect back to Totaranui (which we recommend!) you should plan on covering 62 kilometers.

In addition to the main track, there are countless opportunities to take short detours along the walk to stunning viewpoints, waterfalls, and sandy beaches. These will surely add a bit of distance to your total walk, but we highly recommend exploring while on your walk!

Looking for more resources on maps for the Abel Tasman Coast Track? Check out our Abel Tasman Coast Track | Maps & Routes article here.

Map of the Abel Tasman Coast Track

 

How difficult is the Coast Track?

The Abel Tasman Coast Walk is considered by many to be the easiest of New Zealand’s Great Walks. The trail is very well maintained and you’ll rarely encounter a tough section. Most trampers opt to walk in just running shoes given the ease of the trail and the likelihood of getting your feet wet. However, walkers should still be well prepared as any multi-day trek is a serious undertaking.

As you can see on the elevation profile below, there isn’t a significant amount of elevation encountered on the walk until the final day. Even so, the hike will be manageable for the vast majority of walkers.

Elevation profile of the Abel Tasman Coast Track.

Elevation profile of the Abel Tasman Coast Track.

 

Many of the challenges of walking in Abel Tasman National Park are related to heat, bugs, and the highly variable tides. Be sure to bring plenty of water, a good hat, insect repellent, and be aware of tidal crossing. Keeping these tips in mind, most reasonably fit hikers should have no problem completing the Abel Tasman Coast Track. 

A section of trail on the Coast Track.

You can expect well maintained trails and easy walking on the Abel Tasman Coast Track.

 

Abel Tasman Coast Track Reservations

Advance reservations are required for all of the huts and campsites along the Abel Tasman Coast Track. Given the popularity of the walk, it is recommended that you book your accommodation as far in advance as possible. You can book your huts/campsites directly through the Department of Conservation at the link below:

Book Accommodation for the Abel Tasman Coast Track

It is important to think through a few key details prior to making your booking, all of which we cover in this post:

  • How many days will you take to walk the Coast Track?
  • How do you plan to get back to Marahau from the end of your walk?

If possible, it is good to have some flexibility in the number of days you’ll spend on the track and/or the day you plan to start. You may discover that a specific hut or campsite is fully booked for your ideal day, in which case you may need to get creative to plan your walk. Camping alleviates some of this issue as there are 19 campsites along the route compared with only four huts.

Advance reservations are required for all huts and campsites along the Coast Track.

 

When to hike the Coast Track

The Abel Tasman Coast Track can be walked year round. This part of New Zealand is renowned for its abundant sunshine and mild climate, making the Coast Track the perfect adventure for any time of year. A breakdown by season is below:

Summer (December, January, February):

During New Zealand’s summer months the track will be at its most crowded. However, in exchange for these crowds you’ll get reliably sunny weather, plenty of transportation options, and might even be able to brave the chilly waters for longer than a few minutes!

Sandy beach on the Abel Tasman Coast Track

Summer brings near perfect weather to the region.

 

Fall (March, April, May):

Many consider fall to be the best time to walk the Abel Tasman Coast Track. The crowds start to thin out, but you’re still likely to be treated to warm and sunny weather. If you have your pick, this is the time to walk!

Fall may be the best time to walk the Coast Track.

 

Winter (June, July, August):

Come the winter months you’ll be more likely to encounter cooler temperatures and rain along the walk. However, accommodation should be easy to reserve and you can expect to have many sections of trail to yourself!

Abel Tasman National Park

Winter brings cooler temperatures and more rain to Abel Tasman National Park, but also plenty of solitude along the Coast Track.

 

Spring (September, October, November):

As winter turns to spring the weather in Abel Tasman National Park starts to improve. While you can expect to see a few more rain showers, this is generally a great time to walk the Coast Track before the summer crowds arrive.

Cloudy day in Abel Tasman National Park

 

Tides on the Coast Track

Given the fact that the Coast Track closely follows the shoreline, walkers will need to be aware of tides, especially in the two sections described below:

Awaroa Inlet
You’ll encounter the Awaroa Inlet immediately after the Awaroa Hut, on what will likely be your third or fourth day of the walk. The tides here are dramatic, varying by up to 6 meters depending on the time of day and season. For this reason, you are only able to cross the Awaroa Inlet between 1.5 hours before and 2 hours after low tide. This is important to plan for as the low tide time will dictate how far you are able to walk that day. The Department of Conservation publishes low tide times here. 

High tide at the Awaroa Inlet on the Coast Track

High tide at the Awaroa Inlet.

 

Low tide at the Awaroa Inlet

Low tide at the Awaroa Inlet – much easier to cross!

 

Torrent Bay
Torrent Bay is just past the Anchorage Hut and most walkers will need to cross here at the start of their second day. Similar to the Awaroa Inlet above, Torrent Bay can only be crossed within two hours of low-tide. Fortunately, there is a high-tide track that circumnavigates the bay and allows walkers to cross at anytime. See the map below for more detail. Our best advice is to plan on taking the high-tide track around Torrent Bay, but you just may get lucky and be able to cross at low-tide.

Torrent Bay tide

There is a high-tide and low-tide option for crossing Torrent Bay on the Coast Track.

 

Bugs & Pests

There are few things that could spoil the splendor of your surroundings while walking the Coast Track in Abel Tasman National Park. The few that you should be prepared for are sandflies and wasps. You’ll encounter sandflies throughout New Zealand and those who have been in the country for more than a few days will likely be all too familiar with them. These tiny, biting insects swarm you covering any exposed skin with itchy bites! It’s not all doom and gloom though as sandflies are mostly only around during the dawn and dusk hours. Be sure to bring some insect repellent for when they do come out though!

The other nuisance to be aware of in the Abel Tasman region is the prevalence of wasps. Their nests are common throughout the park, though you are likely to go your entire trek without encountering any. Still, if you are highly allergic be sure you have any needed allergy medication. For other trampers, it is best to pack some Benadryl or other antihistamine just in case of a sting. The Department of Conservation undertook a control program in 2015 to reduce their prevalence in Abel Tasman National Park.

Beach in Abel Tasman

The beautiful beaches of Abel Tasman can harbor some unwanted pests!

 

Abel Tasman Coast Track: Logistics

The Coast Track is remarkably well connected and easy to access. However, there are a few key pieces of information outlined in the following sections that you should keep in mind when planning your trek.

Getting to and from the Abel Tasman Coast Track

Most walker’s will access the Coast Track from the town of Nelson, which sits on the other side of the Tasman Bay from Marahau and Abel Tasman National Park. There is frequent bus service connecting Nelson to Marahau (the traditional starting point for the Coast Track) with most services also stopping in Motueka en route. Some popular service providers include:

  • ScenicNZ: Offers a daily bus connection between Nelson and Marahau via Motueka.
  • Trek Express: This tramper focused provider offers transport to/from the Coast Track and Nelson.

Depending on your chosen itinerary you’re likely to finish your walk in either Wainui or Totaranui. While Wainui is the official end point of the Coast Track, transportation options are limited. As a result, it is more common for trampers to finish their walk by taking looping back to Totaranui via the Gibbs Hill Track. Your best options for getting back to Marahau from each potential finishing points are below:

Getting from Wainui to Marahau
Trek Express operates the most reliable service between the end of the Coast Track in Wainui and Marahau. Expect on the journey taking approximately 1.5 hours. In addition, Golden Bay Coachlines operates a bus service between Wainui and Nelson, with a stop at the car park in Marahau.

Getting from Totaranui to Marahau
Most trekkers opt to finish their walk in Totaranui where you’ll have many more transport options back to the start of the track available. One of the big appeals of finishing here is that you’ll be taking a water taxi back to the Marahau, a fantastic way to cap off your time in Abel Tasman National Park! Your best bets for water taxis from Totaranui to Marahau are below:

  • Abel Tasman Aqua Taxi: A reliable and popular operator, they offer a multitude of transport options.
  • Marahau Water Taxis: This service provides efficient transportation back to Marahau and also has options to connect you back to Nelson via bus.

Water taxis in Bark Bay

Water taxis are plentiful along the Abel Tasman Coast Track.

 

Where to leave your car when walking the Coast Track

If you’ve driven your own car or campervan to Abel Tasman you’ll want to know where to park it. Luckily, the Department of Conservation provides free overnight parking at three locations along the Coast Track: Marahau, Totaranui, and Wainui. The car parks are not covered, but at least give you an easy place to leave your vehicle. Keep in mind that you are not allowed to camp overnight at any of the three car parks!

Transportation on the Abel Tasman Coast Track

Many walkers on the Coast Track will opt to only walk a specific section of the Coast Track (more on that below!) and may need transport from other points along the route. If this is the case you find yourself in, your best bet will almost certainly be to take a water taxi back to Marahau. All of the water taxi providers listed above will be happy to accommodate and will pick you up from any of the following access points:

  • Apple Tree Bay
  • Anchorage
  • Medlands Bay
  • Bark Bay
  • Tonga Quarry
  • Onetahuti
  • Awaroa
  • Totaranui

It is important to note that no motorized boat traffic is allowed past Totaranui in Abel Tasman National Park. This is to maintain the natural state of the northern section of the park, so you’ll want to be sure you take that into account when planning your walk.

Kayakers in Abel Tasman National Park

There is no motorized traffic allowed past Totaranui in Abel Tasman National Park.

 

Accommodation on the Abel Tasman Coast Track

The Coast Walk is well served by a network of Department of Conservation huts and campsites. These huts and campsites make it easy for walkers to plan a variety of itineraries and provide excellent accommodation options. In addition to the Department of Conservation options there are also a few private accommodation options along the track that give the weary walker options other than pitching their tent or settling for a noisy bunk room. Keep reading below to see what sleeping quarters await you on the Coast Track.

Department of Conservation Huts & Campsites

The Department of Conservation provides a network of 19 campsites and 4 huts along the Coast Track. The four huts along the walk are evenly spaced to make for an easy five-day itinerary for those who don’t want to sleep in their tent. These huts are located at Anchorage, Bark Bay, Awaroa Bay, and Whariwharangi. Each of the huts also has a campsite adjacent to it, so campers can also enjoy the simplicity of stopping at these locations.

In addition to the four campsites located next to the DoC huts along the Coast Track there are 15 other sites scattered along the Coast Track. Many of these won’t make sense for trampers given their location, but several provide a great alternative for those who prefer a quieter campsite. We describe your best options in the itinerary section below.

Abel Tasman Coast Track Huts
As mentioned above, the DoC provides huts at Anchorage, Bark Bary, Awaroa Bay, and Whariwharangi. All of these huts are quite basic and provide a common room, sleeping quarters with basic mattresses, potable water, and bathrooms. You’ll need to bring cooking supplies and a camp stove as none of the huts feature cooking facilities, a sleeping bag, and a headlamp as many of the huts do not have lighting.

The huts must all be reserved in advance and have varying rates depending on the time of year and whether or not you are a Kiwi or international tourist.

You can book your Abel Tasman Coast Track Huts here. 

Abel Tasman Coast Track Campsites
There is a network of 19 DoC campsites along the Coast Track. All of the campsites along the route provide toilets and potable water, while some of the larger ones provide a cooking shelter, picnic tables, and seating areas. It is important to note that if camping outside one of the four huts along the route you are not allowed to use the hut facilities. You’ll need to bring all of your own camping equipment, including a stove and cooking supplies, as none of the campsites are equipped with stoves.

You also are not allowed to use a hammock at any of the campsites in Abel Tasman National Park, so be sure you’ve packed your tent, bivvy, or other sleep system.

As with the huts along the route you are required to reserve your all of your campsites along the Coast Track in advance. The fee for these campsites varies depending on the time of year and depending on if you are a local New Zealander or not.

You can book your Abel Tasman Coast Track Campsites here. 

 

Tent at Anapai Bay Campsite.

Camping mere steps from the beach at Anapai Bay along the Coast Track.

 

Private Accommodation

In addition to the Department of Conservation huts and campsites along the route there are also a handful of private accommodation providers along the Coast Track. If you’re looking for something unique (see Aquapackers), a little more luxurious (check out the Awaroa Lodge), or something with a bed and breakfast feel (the Meadowbank Homestead) the following options will surely meet your needs!

Aquapackers
The Aquapackers Hostel is a truly unique accommodation in Abel Tasman National Park. This floating hostel is anchored in Anchorage Bay has dorm beds as well as private cabins. Your room rate includes dinner, breakfast, and bedding for your stay. The vibe is typically a younger crowd, although they do try to keep noise to a minimum.

Torrent Bay Lodge
The Torrent Bay Lodge offers luxurious digs just past Anchorage along the Coast Track. Unfortunately for trampers, they require a minimum two-night stay during peak season. Alternatively you can book a package Coast Walk experience that will have you staying at their other lodge along the route.

Awaroa Lodge
The Awaroa Lodge is located just up the trail from the main DoC hut and campsite at the Awaroa Inlet. This is the most luxurious option along the Coast Track and makes the perfect place to treat yourself to a night of luxury along the Coast Track.

Meadowbank Homestead at Awaroa
Similar to the Torrent Bay Lodge, the Meadowbank Homestead is geared toward those in search of a bit more luxury. During high season you’ll have to book a package stay that includes a night at the Torrent Bay Lodge.

 

Stage-by-stage Itinerary for the Abel Tasman Coast Track

We recommend hiking the Coast Track over 3 – 5 days depending on your hiking ability, pace preferences, and weather conditions. The classic itinerary described below takes five days to complete and will be the best option for the majority of hikers.

 

Stage 1: Marahau to Anchorage

Distance & Elevation: 11.7 km // +737 m, -728 m
Where to stay: 
Anchorage Hut & Campsite // Te Pukatea Campsite
Description:
The Abel Tasman Coast Track begins from the car park outside of Marahau and crosses a tidal estuary via a well-built wooden walkway. From here the track climbs gently and begins to open up to stunning views of the sea beyond. There are frequent side tracks down to the water if you fancy a dip at this early stage.

At approximately 7 km into the walk the track will turn inland and climb along the hillside. Near the top of the hill you’ll be presented with diverging trails. The trail on the right will lead you down to the Anchorage Hut and Campsite while the trail on the left continues on the Coast Track for those who are walking a bit further on their first day.

The Anchorage Hut can accommodate up to 34 people and has a large campsite adjacent. For those who are camping and would like a bit quieter accommodation we recommend continuing on a bit further past Anchorage to the Te Pukatea campsite.

Stage 1 of the Coast Track from Marahau to Anchorage

Stage One of the Coast Track from Marahau to Anchorage.

 

Tidal estuary near Marahau

The Coast Track starts by crossing a tidal estuary just outside of Marahau.

 

Stage 2: Anchorage to Bark Bay

Distance & Elevation: 11.2 km // +657 m, -660 m
Where to stay:
Bark Bay Hut & Campsite
Description:

From Anchorage Bay you’ll quickly reach Torrent Bay where you’ll have two options. The first option is to take the high-tide route which circumnavigates the bay and is passable at all times. A short detour off the high-tide route is Cleopatra’s Pool, a perfect swimming hole on a hot day!

The second option is to take the low-tide alternate (shown on the map below), which crosses directly across Torrent Bay. This route is only passable within 2 hours before and after low-tide, so it is best to plan on taking the high-tide route.

Once past Torrent Bay the track turns inland and gently climbs the coastal hillside. You’ll soon reach the Falls River and cross a long swing bridge over the river. Swing bridges are a staple of New Zealand tramping, so be sure to take in the view! From the swing bridge the trail returns to the coast and winds its way to the Bark Bay Hut & Campsite. The campsite at Bark Bay is located to the right, just off the main trail.

Stage Two - Anchorage to Bark Bay

Stage Two of the Coast Track from Anchorage to Bark Bay.

 

The Falls River Swing Bridge

Crossing the Falls River Swing Bridge on the way to Bark Bay.

 

Stage 3: Bark Bay to Awaroa Bay

Distance & Elevation: 12.2 km // +634 m, -635 m
Where to stay:
Awaroa Hut & Campsite // Awaroa Lodge
Description:

From Bark Bay you’ll begin your walk to Awaroa Bay by either crossing the tidal estuary at low-tide, or taking the high-tide track around the bay. The high-tide track only adds 10 minutes to your walk, so no need to plan in advance. From here the Coast Track once again turns inland as you make your way to the former Tonga Quarry. Continuing along the coast you’ll reach Onetahuti Beach, which the Coast Track walks along for nearly 1 km!

From the end of the beach you’ll climb through the bush before descending to Awaroa Bay. Here you’ll find the Department of Conservation run Awaroa Bay Hut & Campsite as well as the adjacent Awaroa Lodge. The Lodge is a great place to spend the night if you’re in search of a bit more luxury that what the DoC huts have on offer!

Remember that you cannot cross the Awaroa Inlet outside of 1.5 hours before and 2 hours after low-tide. If you plan to walk further on this day you need to consult the tide schedules to be sure it will be possible.

Stage 3 on the Coast Track from Bark Bay to Awaroa.

Stage 3 on the Coast Track from Bark Bay to Awaroa.

 

Boat on the Awaroa Inlet

You’ll have to wait until low-tide to cross the Awaroa Inlet.

 

Stage 4: Awaroa Bay to Whariwharangi

Distance & Elevation: 17.3 km // +805 m, -801 m
Where to stay:
Whariwharangi Hut & Campsite // Anapai Beach Campsite
Description:

After crossing the Awaroa Inlet to begin Stage 4 of the Abel Tasman Coast Track the route cuts across a forested headland before heading back to the coast. The trail continues on hugging the shoreline along Goat Bay before a short, but steep climb brings you to a viewpoint with spectacular views of Totaranui Beach. Heading down from the lookout you’ll eventually reach Totaranui with its huge campsite and busy dock. Many walkers opt to finish at this point and grab a water taxi back to Marahau. If you want to spend the night at Totaranui keep in mind that there is no hut here, so you’ll need to camp.

For those continuing on you’ll follow the road through the Totaranui complex before turning right, walking past a parking area, and then picking up the main trail again as it heads into the bush. You’ll climb up and over another headland before arriving at the Anapai Beach Campsite. This is a great option for those looking to camp near Totaranui, but prefer a quieter site. Located on a lovely beach, this is a great place to spend the night!

From Anapai Beach the track climbs steadily before descending down to Mutton Cove. From here the main Coast Track heads inland, although we highly recommend taking the alternative route to Separation Point, with its beautiful views of the sea beyond. The main Coast Track and Separation Point track meet again at a high point and then descend to the Whariwharangi Hut & Campsite. This is the last hut along the Coast Track and a lovely place to spend you last evening.

Stage 4 on the Coast Track from Awaroa Bay to Whariwharangi.

Stage 4 on the Coast Track from Awaroa Bay to Whariwharangi.

 

View of Totaranui Beach.

Taking in views of Totaranui Beach on the Coast Track.

 

Stage 5: Whariwharangi to Totaranui (via Gibbs Hill Track)

Distance & Elevation: 9.8 km // +677 m, -679 m
Where to stay:
Totaranui or onward travel accommodation
Description:

The final stage of the Abel Tasman Coast Track presents walkers with two options. The first is to finish the walk on the traditional route by descending to the carpark at Wainui, just over 5 km from the Whariwharangi Hut. The problem with this option is that there is not frequent transportation from the end of the walk in Wainui, with only a few bus operators serving the car park and official end of the Coast Track. The second option, and what we recommend, is to take the Gibbs Hill Track back to Totaranui. This makes for a 10km walk from Whariwharangi, but you’ll have many more transportation options back to Marahau and Nelson from Totaranui. Plus, you’ll get to see a bit more of the mountainous interior of Abel Tasman National Park.

Regardless of your choice, you’ll begin by leaving the hut or campsite at Whariwharangi and climbing steadily up to the junction with the Gibbs Hill Track. For those heading to Wainui, it’s a short 3 km descent to the car park and finish of the Coast Track. For those continuing on to Totaranui, you’ll join the Gibbs Hill track as it ascends towards a high point at, you guessed it, Gibbs Hill. From here the track begins its descent to Totaranui and you’ll soon come to a junction where you’ll take a left. From this point it is approximately 4.5 km back to Totaranui.

Regardless of which option you choose you can celebrate in the fact that you’ve just completed the Abel Tasman Coast Walk! Get your transportation out of Abel Tasman sorted out and be sure to enjoy the sense of accomplishment that comes with completed one of New Zealand’s Great Walks!

Stage 5 of the Coast Track from Whariwharangi to Totaranui or Wainui.

Stage 5 of the Coast Track from Whariwharangi to Totaranui or Wainui.

 

Taking the Gibbs Hill Track back to Totaranui will let you see a different side of Abel Tasman National Park.

 

Alternative Itineraries for the Coast Track

The five day itinerary described above can be broken into almost countless alternative itineraries for walking the Coast Track. If you’ve only got time for a few days, we suggest the following itineraries:

3-day Abel Tasman Coast Track
For those with only three days to spare in Abel Tasman we recommend starting with a big first day to from Marahau to Bark Bay. From Bark Bay you’ll head to Awaroa, where you’re likely to need to spend the night in order to time the tidal crossing correctly. On your final day, head along the coast to Totaranui to catch a water taxi back to the start.

  • Stage 1: Marahau to Bark Bay: 23 km
  • Stage 2: Bark Bay to Awaroa Bay: 12 km
  • Stage 3: Awaroa to Totaranui: 6.5 km

1-day Abel Tasman Coast Track
Even with a single day in Abel Tasman you’ll be able to enjoy some of the best parts of the walk. Our recommendation is to take a water taxi to Totaranui and then complete the northern portion of the walk by first hiking to Whariwharangi and then taking the Gibbs Hill Track back to Totaranui. This is the least crowded section of the trail and also has some of the most incredible views, including those from Separation Point.

Abel Tasman Coast Track: What to Pack

Packing for the Coast Track is a balancing act between ensuring you have everything you need while not over packing. In general, you should be able to get by with a 30L – 60L backpack and the following essentials:

Also, you won’t be able to buy any food along the trail. Thus, you’ll need to be sure you’ve packed all you’ll need for the entire walk. In general, we recommend backpacking staples such as ramen, freeze-dried backpacker meals, trail mix, and instant oatmeal. Be sure and think through each day of your walk when meal planning as you want to ensure you’ve brought enough food!

Read More: The Complete Packing List for the Abel Tasman Coast Track

 

Abel Tasman Coast Track packing list

Campers will need to bring a bit more on the Coast Track.

 

Baggage Transfer on the Coast Track

Taken all of our packing advice above, but still have too much gear? No problem! All of the main water taxi operators will be more than happy to shuttle your packs from beach to beach along the Coast Track. However, remember that there are no water taxis allowed past Totaranui, so you’ll have to carry your own pack past there!

We recommend the following companies for baggage transfer on the Coast Track:

 

What’s Next?

If you’ve read our Complete Guide to the Abel Tasman Coast Track above, you’re well on your way to having an incredible experience on the hike. However, you still have lots of preparation before you’re truly ready! Be sure to read our entire series on the Coast Track to learn everything you’ll need to know to prepare for your trip!

Beach in Abel Tasman, New Zealand

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