Abel Tasman National Park
Welcome to New Zealand's smallest, sunniest,
warmest, friendliest National Park! No part of the local coastline
has seen more pages of history turned than this one, nor does any
part play host to more visitors than this.
The Park's coastline was used extensively by
the Maori in early times as is
evident from the number of sites to be seen today. Abel
Tasman in 1642 was the first European to sight the coast; following
DUrville's 1827 exploration, European settlement began. The
first prominent settler was William Gibbs, farming at Totaranui
in 1856. Soon there were boatbuilders, quarrymen, timber millers
and more farmers, settled along the coast.
Little evidence now remains of these activities
and areas once cleared for farming are now reverting to forest.
Although the Park is the smallest in the country,
covering 22,139 hectares and rising only to 1134 metres at Mt Evans,
it contains many features worth exploring - like the sculptured
landscape of Canaan, the dramatic
marble gorges draining into the Takaka Valley and the gently curved
beaches of golden sand, separated one from another by rocky granite
headlands. Fine stands of native bush grow down almost to high tide
mark. Birds such as shags, gannets, terns and blue penguins may
be seen on coastal waters, while the large, open estuaries attract
oystercatchers, stilts and herons. Much of the Park is covered in
beech forest but on more fertile sites the jungle-like rain forest
is found, with its vines, perching plants and tree ferns.
GOLDEN BAY visitors may enter the Park on foot
via Canaan and some keen mountain
bikers may arrive in Takaka via the
Rameka Track. Most however will
travel via Takaka and Pohara
to the northern entrances. Tracks start at Wainui
Bay. For those without transport, a low-tide crossing of this
estuary cuts several kilometres off the trip from Takaka
(watch for markers, cross near low tide). The main track heads for
the historic hut at Whariwharangi, 1 and 1/2 hours away, but a shorter
side track brings you to Taupo Point, an important Maori
Pa site. From Whariwharangi a seemingly endless series of small
beaches, rocky headlands (side track to Separation Point) and estuaries
leads first to Totaranui. Many holiday-makers and hikers may have
driven on from Wainui Bay, over
the granite hill to arrive directly at the large DoC camping
ground here at Totaranui. A large grassed area on the foreshore
provides ample space for tents and caravans. The nearby "Old
Homestead" with its facilities block provides a good base for
school groups and caters for up to 40 people.
for teachers is available. Domestic animals are not permitted, sorry.
You can spend a few days exploring the Park and
coastline from Totaranui or you can continue on around the world
famous coastal track. Another low-tide estuary crossing brings you
to Awaroa. A unique refreshing stop-over. The full coastal track,
all the way to the southern exit at Marahau - via many pristine
beaches at Tonga, Bark Bay, Torrent Bay etc - usually takes 3 to
4 days. This intricate coastline is now one of New Zealands
most popular kayaking
For all Park visits, long or short, you should
request more information from an Information
or DoC office.
Bookings are essential for camping and huts over holiday periods.
Continue to read information about >>>> Golden Bay Beaches