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10 Amazing Things to Do in the Abel Tasman National Park


Awesome Activities in Abel Tasman!

Golden sand beaches, lush native forest, marine wildlife… How are you going to explore it all? In this list, we’ll go through all the amazing things to do in the Abel Tasman National Park to make that decision a little easier.

Of course, Abel Tasman National Park has its fair share of coastal activities, with kayaking, cruises and scuba diving. There’s also one of the New Zealand Great Walks lining the coast so you can experience it all on a multi-day trek. In fact, you can even see Abel Tasman from the sky in a number of ways, from skydiving to hang gliding. There are plenty of ways to have your own adventure in Abel Tasman.

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1. Kayaking in Abel Tasman

Let’s get it out of the way, shall we? Every photo you’ve probably seen of the Abel Tasman National Park has likely included a kayak. It’s an awesome way to get more intimate with the Abel Tasman coastline and have some close encounters with the wildlife, especially in the Tonga Island Marine Reserve. You have plenty of options when it comes to kayaking in Abel Tasman, including self-guided multi-day hires, guided day tours, and even a mix of kayaking and hiking in day tours. Kayaking operators are based in Kaiteriteri, Marahau and Golden Bay.

Kayaking tours are available with The Sea Kayaking Company and Wilsons.

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2. The Abel Tasman Coast Track

Travel 60km along the coast of the Abel Tasman National Park to see most of those pristine golden sand beaches. The 3-5 days Great Walk track has a number of huts and campsites as accommodation along the way (as well as a couple of luxury lodges). Make sure you are well prepared by following our advice in How to Prepare for a Great Walk in New Zealand. Remember, some of the track access is determined by the tide.

For those of you who don’t want to do a multi-day trip, you can book water taxis to take you to the most popular sections of the Abel Tasman Coast Track and pick you up the same day.


3. Take a boat trip

Another awesome way to explore the Abel Tasman National Park coast is by boat. There are many operators taking you out on the waters, from sailing charters to eco-tours getting you into the thick of the nature in the Abel Tasman National Park. They’ll take you to their favourite beaches, check out some local wildlife and more!

Cruises are available with Wilsons or Abel Tasman Sea Shuttles.


4. Skydive over Abel Tasman

For views of the Abel Tasman National Park from above as you hurtle toward the ground at 200km/h, try skydiving in Abel Tasman. A drop zone is based in Motueka where you can choose to fall from 9,000ft, 13,000ft and even 16,500ft.

Skydiving in Abel Tasman is available with Abel Tasman Skydive.

Skydive Abel Tasman

5. Mountain Biking in Abel Tasman

Although you can’t mountain bike on most walking tracks in the Abel Tasman National Park, there are a couple of adventurous trails, especially for mountain biking. Your first option is accessed from the Canaan Downs Car Park at the top of Takaka Hill (beware, it’s a narrow gravel road to get there). From here, access the Moa Park Track from the Rameka Track turnoff to the Wainui Track turnoff. Your second option is the Gibbs Hill track which is open May 1st to October 1st. Access the track from Totaranui.

More more information, head to Mountain Biking in Nelson Tasman

6. Hike in the Abel Tasman wilderness

Yes, there’s more to the Abel Tasman National Park than beaches. The Abel Tasman National Park is also home to dense regenerating native forest where you can get your bird fix and get a true wilderness experience. Some of the best inland hiking tracks are accessed from the Golden Bay side of the national park, such as Harwood’s Hole (45 minutes one way) to see the deepest vertical shaft in New Zealand. There’s also Wainui Falls (1h20min return) to see some stunning waterfalls. There’s also the rugged Inland Track (3 Days) which is another multi-day hiking option in the Abel Tasman National Park.


7. Go Canyoning

To see more of that Abel Tasman wilderness in the most adventurous way possible, try canyoning! Abseil, climb, leap and scramble through the river canyons of the Abel Tasman National Park.

Abel Tasman Canyons

8. Go scuba diving

With the Tonga Island Marine Reserve in the heart of the Abel Tasman National Park, the national park is a great location for scuba diving in New Zealand. This protected area for marine life means you’ll see a greater abundance of fish, eels, crays and even marine mammals such as New Zealand fur seals.


9. Enjoy a scenic flight over the national park

There’s no lack of scenic plane and helicopter flights to give you a sensational bird’s eye view of the Abel Tasman National Park. Interestingly, there’s also the option to do things a little differently with microlight flights (the only place where you can do it in New Zealand) and hang gliding. Most operators are based at the Motueka Airport.

Scenic flights are available with Reid Helicopters and Tasman Helicopters.


10. Stay in the Abel Tasman National Park

You know what, you don’t have to DO anything. Just book some accommodation in the Abel Tasman National Park, whether it’s a Department of Conservation Hut, campsite, lodge or even a boat backpackers, and just relax in the stunning scenery by the beach.

Evan Forester on Flickr

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