My absolute top camping spot in the Park, despite its name, is Mosquito Bay. One of its key attractions for me is it is off the Coastal Track so is only accessible by boat. That means it’s quite private and sometimes we have the whole place to ourselves. We get there using our own boat but it is also accessible by kayak, a short paddle north of Bark Bay in the middle of the Park.
I really love how Mosquito Bay changes so much with the tides. It has a rock in the middle of the beach that becomes an island when the tide comes in, and the water goes right around the back behind the tent sites.
My other favourite campsite is Totaranui. We try to camp there at least a couple of times a year, usually at Labour Weekend in late October and then again at Easter with a group of mates. We always camp at the northern end of the camping ground, close to the estuary and the boat ramp. The estuary is beautiful on any tide and is my favourite spot.
My favourite time of year to camp at Tot is during the annual deer roar. We sit around one of the fire pits rehydrating ourselves with a few quiet beers in the evening and then the stags start roaring. It’s incredibly loud on a still night, even though the stags are across the estuary and up in the bush.
I like the day walks you can do from Tot too. If you walk south you come to Goat Bay which is a small, but really pretty beach with views across to Awaroa. If you walk north you find some of the most remote and wild bays in the Park, like Anapai and Mutton Cove. Separation Point, which divides Tasman and Golden Bays, is a nice spot too. You get a great elevated view of the granite outcrop that marks Separation Point, and the view across Golden Bay towards Farewell Spit is quite dramatic too.
My husband is a keen freediver and fisherman so Tot is perfect for him too. He usually manages to get a few crayfish and some fish too, so we can pretty much eat fresh seafood the whole time we’re there. We’ve also done pretty well getting whitebait from the estuary some weeks during Labour Weekend.
You’re allowed to mountain bike the Gibbs Hill Track up behind Tot too, so that’s another key attraction for me.
Blog by Heidi Bucket
Office Manager – Abel Tasman AquaTaxi