The Abel Tasman National Park
Everything You Need to Know for the Best Possible Experience in the Park!
The Abel Tasman National Park is famous for it’s stunning coastal scenery, crystal clear waters, golden sand beaches and lush native bush . It is the most accessible & popular of New Zealand’s national parks, drawing large numbers of international visitors, particularly throughout the summer months.
Recognised as New Zealand’s sea kayaking mecca, the entire park coastline is also frequented by water taxis on a daily basis throughout the year. The Abel Tasman Coast Track is one of New Zealand’s Great Walks and is famous for its inviting coastal walk that runs right throughout the national park.
The park is accessible all year round and, whilst summer is a popular time to visit, locals will tell you that the shoulder seasons are actually the best time to experience the serenity of the park.
We’ve compiled all the information you need to know about the Abel Tasman‘s environment and history plus tips to help you plan and, know what to bring for the best possible experience here in the park.
All you need to know about
the Abel Tasman National Park
Flying into to Nelson is one of the easiest ways to get close to the park. The park is easily accessible by road from anywhere in the South Island and it’s accessible by water taxi all year round.
The Abel Tasman National Park has a wide variety of accommodation options from luxury lodges to basic camping sites, and even a unique floating backpacker lodge.
Although not a lot of planning and preparation is required to enjoy the Abel Tasman, some really basic prep can greatly enhance your experience. Check the weather and tides.
The Abel Tasman Track is roughly 60km long, winding its way north from Mārahau up to Wainui Bay. It’s a 3 to 5 day walk along the coastal track.
Abel Tasman walks can be enjoyed as a half-day, full-day or multi-day walking adventures. You’ll experience the best of our popular national park.
The Abel Tasman National Park has been New Zealand’s sea kayaking mecca for over 30 years. It’s perfect for first-time paddlers or pro kayakers.
The Nelson-Tasman region enjoys a moderate, maritime climate. Some might say we have the best weather in New Zealand. So when is the best time to visit the Abel Tasman? We’ll let you decide!
The Abel Tasman National Park has a fantastic safety record, thanks largely to the care and attention paid to safety by the commercial operators in the area.
Learn about the history of the park: the first people, European discovery and settlement and the establishment of the Abel Tasman National Park in 1942.
The Abel Tasman National Park is home to a fantastic array of New Zealand native plants, birds and marine mammals. It’s simply stunning.
Native forest has visibly regenerated over the past 15 years and birdsong not heard in the area for generations has returned in abundance.
We’ve put together a list of the most frequently asked questions ( FAQ ) about adventuring in the Abel Tasman National Park.
New Zealand’s most popular National Park.
Why is the Abel Tasman the most popular of our 13 national parks? Perhaps most importantly, the Park contains some stunning scenery and a number of those scenes have become quintessentially Abel Tasman over the years. While the entire New Zealand coastline is basically a succession of beaches and bays, the golden sands and crescent-shaped bays of the park have been captured in photos and videos over many years and have made it a bit of a New Zealand superstar. The sneak peeks of these beaches that are available from elevated sections of the Abel Tasman Coastal Track make great photographs. There is also something rather magical about seeing the lush beech forests and native bush that comes right down to the waterline, fringing beaches and tidal inlets. In combination, all of these elements combine to make the region shine – with organisations like Tourism New Zealand and Air NZ using Abel Tasman images to promote Aotearoa around the world in their marketing campaigns.
And here’s the thing; it looks and feels just like it does in those postcard photographs and promo videos. This means the Park consistently delivers or even over delivers on the expectations of the people who visit it. This is the direct opposite to the modern marketing phenomenon that is a fastfood chain store where the food looks fabulous in the promo photos but more like soggy cardboard when you’re actually holding it in your hand.
Adventure Tours in the Abel Tasman National Park
Seals and SandWalking & Hiking | Full Day
Magical Marine ReserveGuided Kayak | Full Day
Homeward BoundGuided Kayak & Walk | 3 Days
It’s easy to get to the Abel Tasman National Park
Another key factor in the popularity of the Abel Tasman is just how easy it is to access the place. Many of our other national parks are in remote locations and it takes no small amount of effort and physical exertion to enjoy those places. By contrast, Marahau at the southern entrance to the Abel Tasman National Park is an easy one hour drive from Nelson Airport. Once you’re in Marahau you can access the park in a number of ways including simply strolling under the impressive carved waharoa (entranceway), along the boardwalk and into the Park. You can also access the park by road from the north in Golden Bay at the two access points, the Wainui Bay carpark and Totaranui campground.
The rest of the Abel Tasman is also incredibly accessible with scheduled water taxi services daily all year round and a dizzying array of options to paddle into the park in a kayak. These transport options allow visitors to do day trips in any area of the park or even half-day trips in the southern end of the park. For visitors doing multi-day trips it provides the opportunity to walk or paddle a kayak in one direction and then water taxi back to where they started their trip, rather than having to return over the same ground they have already covered.
Proud to be a certified Zero Carbon business
We offset 100% of our emissions, and make a contribution to local conservation projects on behalf of each customer. When you travel with us on a water taxi, you are helping to plant native trees, restore waterways, build climate resilience, and restore our biodiversity.
Find out more about our commitment and journey towards sustainable tourism
Learn about the Environmental Access Fee (EAF) – the portion of your ticket price that goes directly towards preserving the unique environment you enjoy in the park.