When Is the Best Time
Abel Tasman is one of the most popular National Parks in New Zealand. Peak season from mid-December to March (Easter). Often several hundred day-trippers visit the park for a hike between Awaroa and Marahau. The crowds thin out after Awaroa. Best months for a visit with pleasant weather and fewer hikers are November, March, and April. Continue reading to get all the needed information for each season.
For the Coast Track of 3-5 days booking for the 4 huts and 19 campsites is essential for the entire year. For summer, advanced booking is recommended. Availability and booking
Split Apple Rock
Tide times must get as much consideration as the weather forecast for the coastal track and also for day hikes:
- Crossing the stream at Onetahuti beach is only possible around low tide.
- Awaroa inlet can be crossed only within 1 ½ hour before and 2 h after low tide.
- You can walk along the beach at Torrent Bay at low tide. At high tide, it’s a long way around along Cleopatra's pool which takes an additional hour.
A pick up at Torrent Bay is not any longer offered. Limited drop off between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. exceptions for overnight guests and residents. The next opportunity is Anchorage and Bark Bay.
Water Taxis at Kaiteriteri
Tip: Even for a day trip book your water taxi in advance during the peak season in summer.
It’s one of the sunniest spots in NZ with over 2.200 hours of sunshine annually.
- Spring (Sept.-Nov.): Nature awakes, and the temps are perfect for hiking with temps below 20°Cs on average. Nights are pretty chilly. It’s the shoulder season and less crowded.
- Summer (Dec.-Feb.): It’s the best time of the year for hiking and swimming with less precipitation. From mid-December on the park gets utterly crowded with visitors from around the world, as well as from AUS and NZ in their school holidays. Day temps are above 20°C and nights are pleasant. January is the warmest month.
- Autumn (March-May): Still pleasant temps and crowds thin out. Not a high amount of precipitation on average 8 days a month. Temps are perfect for hiking. March and April are still very sunny. Nights temps in May are often below 10°C.
- Winter (June-Aug.): Day temps are around 14°C while there are one digit temps in the night. Camping is pretty cold. The coldest month is July with a night temp on average around 6°C. Most rainfall occurs in June. It’s the perfect time for photographers without crowds on the beaches and the turquoise crystal clear sea looks breathtaking at this time of the year. Viewer people visit the park.
There are plenty of accommodations in Motueka but not many in Kaiteriteri. To get one of the early morning water taxis we recommend staying within walking distance to the beach and the shuttle service. Torlesse Motels are just a 10 minutes walk where the boats depart. The staff is lovely, and the view from here is spectacular. Book a studio and prepare your picnic for hiking in the Abel Tasman National Park.
- Get up early and watch the breathtaking sunrise.
- Don't miss the famous Wharariki Beach which is most picturesque at sunset north of Abel Tasman. You may know it from the Windows 10 Wallpaper.
Best Months to Visit
Location and Tips
The famous National Park was established in 1942. Abel Tasman is a hikers paradise with several stages. Hike the entire Abel Tasman Coastal Track or just one or two parts to get an idea of this beautiful subtropical paradise of white golden beaches, turquoise blue crystal-clear sea, and a lush coastal native bush with huge fern trees.
The coastal track is one of the nine great walks in NZ managed by DOC; Department of Conservation. It’s a once in a lifetime experience to hike the whole trail of 60 km. It can be done in either direction. Because of the dependence of transport, it’s better to hike from North to South. There is the possibility to hike just a part with one night on one of the campgrounds or just a day hike. You get to the different stages by water taxi and for Wainui Bay by shuttle service on a gravel road. One thing is for sure don't miss this exceptional National Park on the South Island!
- Totaranui to Whariwharangi Bay 9 km / 5.6 miles - Get there by water taxi. Or
Wainui Bay to Whariwharangi Bay almost 6 km / 3.7 miles - Shuttle service is necessary.
- Whariwharangi Bay to Awaroa 17 km / 10.6 miles - Note the tidal times.
- Awaroa to Bark Bay 13.5 km / 8.4 miles - Note the tidal times.
Also, popular for day-trippers to visit the Onetahuti Bay beach and the Awaroa beach on a non-Doc track.
- Bark Bay to Anchorage at low tide 8.4 km / 5.2 miles and high tide with detour 11.5 km / 7 miles
This is the most popular part for day-trippers along the 47 m long falls river suspension bridge and to the Cleopatra pool.
- Anchorage to Marahau 12.4 km / 7.7 miles
You need to be self-sufficient on this trail. Campgrounds and huts are provided with facilities and cooking shelters but without showers. Carry your own gas stove and cooking stuff. Using the hut facilities is prohibited for campers.